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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 2, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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this time even the white folks get freed. you should find it ironic it was a very vote that republicans were protecting for blacks now being used against them and politically speaking, black people and black vote has been the most discussed subject in american political history and it will be again in 2012. you won't hear, i wonder what the irish-americans are going to do this election. this is because blacks have a special purpose since the beginning of the formation of this country. an economic impact and it is a study of two ideologies. by the way i will make sense all these white guys before me have been talking about all day. i will break it down for you today. black people written specifically into the founding documents and slavery seen in the constitution in a few key places. first is in the enumeration clause where representatives were apportioned, known as the 3/5 compromise. it was misrepresented by liberals of course. next it was in article i, section 9.
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congress is limited expressly from prohibiting importation of slaves before 1808, a date that represent ad compromise 20 years. january 1st of 1808 was the first date that was supposed to end slavery. finally the fugitive slave clause is a last mention of blacks in the constitution. this required that an escaped slave be delivered back to the property holder in the state where the property had escaped. this is one of the few areas that, of the constitution that the democrats are still enforcing. some of you will get this stuff when you go home [laughing] the next big era for blacks in the political scene came during the civil war. it has been said the seeds of civil war were zone in the compromise of the constitution on issue of article i, section 9 which prohibited importation of slaves as i said. to get around this the democrats decided to make
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descendants of slaves, slaves. thus slavery had the potential to go on forever. that is not what the founding fathers intended. we got through slavery and we went into reconstruction. interestingly enough, called radical reconstruction which lasted about 10 years starting with the reconstruction acts of 1867. it could have easily been termed the first black renaissance. this period mimics our very own modern-day tea party movement. blacks got the right to vote. more blacks served in politics than anytime in history. this is also the time when democrats began marginalizing the black vote through intimidation and egregious laws. we were known as negroes then. the next iconic period was in the roaring '20s. by the time the roaring '20s came around blacks were mainstream and this period ushered in the harlem renaissance. the black cut ral revolution in harlem, new york. and what i call the second black renaissance, movement primary literary, art, music,
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dance, theater and fostered black pride uplifting of race through the intellect a sort of passive civil rights movement began during this period, not so much with marches and protests but more with blacks just focusing on self-importance and self-worth. we were known as colored then. shortly thereafter white america hit hard times. you will figure that one out but it is true. during that time we had the great depression which brought us the new deal. until the newell deal blacks had voted overwhelmingly republican. by the end of roosevelt's first administration one of the most dramatic shifts in voting in american history occurred. in 1936, 75% black voters supported democrats. blacked turn to roosevelt in part because of his spending program gave them a measure of relief from the depression however the largest reason because blacks felt that the gop had done little to repay blacks for their loyalty. does that sound familiar?
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this period may most resemble the state of liberal blacks in america today they feel abandoned by the republican party. and yet, again they are willing to be taken advantage of by the democrats. most new deal programs discriminated against blacks. the national recovery administration not only offered whites the first crack at jobs, but authorized separate and lower-pay scales for blacks. the federal housing authority refused to guarantee mortgages for blacks he tried to buy in white neighborhoods. ccc maintain seg a bated camps. the social security act, concluded job categories that blacks traditionally filled. the agricultural administration, acreage, i'm sorry, the agricultural adjustment administration yaichage reduction hit black share croppers extremely hard. you might think i blame fdr for this however he is not the culprit. i will say a word and i want you guys to think of the
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first thing that comes to mind, chicken. i won't ask you to raise your hand if you thought of kfc. but here's my point. it was a white kentucky colonel who is the real symbol of chicken but it is black people who are credited for loving a bird that eats its own poop. [laughter] damn, that harlan sanders. the '60s ushered in the civil rights movement, the great society. lbj believed the problem of housing income, employment and health care were ultimately a federal responsibility and he called this the great society. does anybody out there remember a show called "the jetsons"? if you do, do you recall the name of their black neighbor? no, silly there were no black people in the future. [laughter] that's the way the great society was. liberal historians point to all the legislation passed by lbj in the war on poverty and they point to the gains but lbj repositioned the
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private sector successes under government control. and during this time the federal government raised the minimum wage and in 1966 congress adopted the model cities act, as suring adequate housing to attack urban blight. how is that working? the act set up a cabinet-level position in the department, call it department of housing and urban development and began a program of rent supplements. to promote education congress passed higher education act in 1965 to provide student loans and scholarships. elf meant try and secondary schools act in 1965 to pay for textbooks. education opportunity act in 1968 to help the poor finance college educations and all that and america's kids are dumber than ever, these notwithstanding. child health and improvement act of 1968 provided for prenatal and post-natal care. the medicaid act of 1968 paid for medical expenses of
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poor. medicare established in 1965 established medical insurance to older americans under the social security system. both systems are broke. pretty much any program that is currently bankrupting this country was begun by fdr and put on steroids by lbj during this time, and they taught the poor everything but to help themselves. the left explains it this way. [applause] the left explains it this way. don't drink and drive. you might spill something. we were called blacks during that time. the '70s may be the most pivotal time in american history. culturally speaking and blacks were having an impact in ways you likely haven't considered but that's why i'm here. room 222 was a show about inner city public schools that were actually good. anybody remember that show? barefoot in the park standard, tracy reed and scoy mitchell, feature ad black couple who did not
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live in the ghetto. jj of got times proved you could be stupid and survive in the ghetto. michael proved that you could be smart and black and survive in the ghetto. winona made many minute of all colors want to live in the ghetto. flip wilson may be the pivotal black in lbj t history as he introduced the world to geraldine, a black transvestite. i don't know why he hasn't gotten the glaad award posthumously. do you remember the icon mick moment where sammy davis, jr. kissed archie bunker on the cheek? "sanford & son" introduced us to interracial friendships, interracial dating and interracial police. the mod quad squad showcased white and block yith. the jeff sons showcased wealthy blacks and interracial marriage. not long however hollywood gave a transition that became mean spirit anti-establishment. despite some progress hollywood mostly depicted
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blacks as thugs prostitutes and pimps. hollywood eventually created the black civil war of the '80s where we were called african-americans. the battle lines were drawn. it was booker rights versus the duboisians. black conservatives were born during this era. they were the antithesis of 1960s radical blacks. accountability versus government help. that was when blacks became openly black and conservative. to use a gay word. the next big event occurred in y2k. why i say we come full circle flipped. the election after black president was supposed to end the era of racism in america. we were all supposed to be happier as a preacher's kid at a biker chick rally. [laughter] yet we find ourselves in the middle of a civil rights movement and manner of janet
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napolitano's blind dates. is there not enough evidence that blacks or anybody else can achieve whatever they choose in america and raisism, in the mainstream is pretty much nonexistent? of course there is. but the left doesn't care about reality. i can only imagine how moderates in the left that voted for obama feel now about the reality obama and the end of racism. i liken it how i felt with when i learned that fonzie, the coolest yesteryear italian on tv was really a mouth think jewish guy named winkler. [laughter] what does all this guilt and all this racism got enus? $17 trillion spent on liberals destructive behaviors, cloaked in the guise of fighting the war on poverty. by the way, poverty won. we search for diversity in the most diverse country on
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the planet. liberals keep us busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic because they know it is easier to change america if they keep us jumping through hoops and going on snipe hunts. liberals want america to be anything but america because liberals are destroyers. they are destroyers of the truth and they destroyers of dreams. they have seized control of washington and their radical agenda is all they care about. we dislike liberals policies. liberals hate us. to them, our love of the greatness of america is silly, worthy of ridicule. our beliefs in things like the constitution, the sanctity of life and marriage and the bible, the right to bear arms, make us so last year. how can you not love this country? liberals don't know how to love this country because they don't love themselves. they are waiting on the next
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fad, the next ism and all they need is proof that an idea hasn't worked somewhere else and they're all in. [laughter] [applause] if liberal can't create a job they will tell you that they saved yours. [laughter] if you don't buy it, they say things well, it could have been worse. or, he just needs more time. liberals are lunatics, easier to spot than a kangaroo in a dinner jacket and they want you to believe their lazy logic. obama promised to cut the budget in half in his first term. now he is asking for more money and he wants us to raise the debt ceiling for fourth time for hill and his supporters say they don't want to do it because he's black. he did it for all the other white presidents. yeah, and it was wrong then. [laughter]
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not to mention this black president is outspent them all. it is time to cut his credit line. he wants to allow more room for him to create debt in order to convince us that he will cut debt. that is crackhead logic. liberals will deem innovative thinking. he did go to harvard. obama's budget reminds me of the joke where the wife asked the husband, should i get a bikini or all in one. the husband replys you better get a bikini because you will never get it all in one. [laughter] liberals are as lost as last year's easter eggs and want to tax or regulate you from the cradle to the grave. consider their own contradictions. they want to compel us to engage in healthy behavior and thus declared war on fat people. discrimination. i know it.
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slept at holiday inn express. they support their position by saying that fat people get heart disease, diabetes and so on and thus their life expectancy is less than that of skinny folks. they discriminate but it is for your own good. it may surprise them to learn that fat people and skinny people die at statistically the same rate. you want to have some fun with a liberal? ask them what is the speed of dark? [laughter] and then call them racist for not knowing. [applause] one could argue that how people die might have racist implications. so let me explain. white people are innovative in dying. you leave the jeep while on safari, to get a closer picture of the lion. [laughter]
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white folks hang glide of sheer cliffs or you get killed by an exotic pet. you are the reason there are shows called, i survived. but let me tell you how black people die. black people are killed by other black people in their neighborhoods where liberals have corralled us. too many black people die with songs inside of them. and if you think our neighborhoods are dangerous, and unsafe, i suggest you never enter a black woman's womb. that is the most dangerous place on earth for a black child. [applause] unfortunately, too many of america's children of other colors are suffering the same fate. advocating effectively for the poor and lower middle class is going to take more intellectual creativity and political boldness than keeping walmart away from poor people. liberals steal ambition from people. this is why black people are
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inhabitants of our neighborhoods. because we don't live there. living implies life. life is vibrant, inhabitants exist. ask a black person or black liberal where they live. they say, i stay over there. it is called liberal policies a disaster is to be too kind. they created a ecosystem when america sneezes, black america gets pneumonia. other ethnicities are suffer as well. i quote vietnamese born minister from decades ago. we're not without accomplishment. we managed to distribute poverty equally. obama vowed to end homelessness in 10 years but one reports that states homelessness is up 6% and this doesn't include those living in foreclosed properties or squatting with others. obama increased budget for homelessness 24% the
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unemployment rate risen 1.8%. highest increase since the days of jimmy carter, what i affect shun atly called the peanut era because that is all we got. estimated 3.5 million fraudulent obama voters had no homes in 2008. speaking of homes, if you don't like the home you're in, i suggest you change your attitude because you're not going to change your residence. whether they admit it or not liberals recognize the disaster which america finds herself in and they know who to blame. if you don't find liberals delusional at this point i probably can convince you the best surfing is in nebraska. liberals drive suv with the fuel economy of saturn rockets but lecture us on carbon footprints. they have corporate umbrellas the size of satellites but call those making $250,000 a year, millionaires. and what is the left's
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problem with real women? conservative women? you should give yourselves a hand, ladies. [applause] would you trade michele bachmann, sarah palin, nikki haley or anyone of you gorgeous republican conservative women and whatever ilk you are, for hillary clinton? [laughter] come on, guys, what about janet napolitano? debbie wasserman shauls? -- schultz? what is liberals problem with real men? conservative men? would any real conservative have allowed anthony weiner to be our poster boy? [laughter] if weiner was my brother i would walk five paces in front of him so nobody knew he was kin to me. but look at the conservative movement's heroes. william f. buckley. milton friedman.
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ronald reagan. [applause] i'll compare reagan's legacy to all of the democrat icons combined. you know who their icons are. eliot spitzer. john edwards. rod blagojevich. mayor today. aley. al gore, ted kennedy, lbj, bill clinton. more like a fbi's 10 most-wanted list there, isn't it? [laughter] but, hey, we are all susceptible to liberalism including a strong conservative like myself and i will freely admit that i am guilty of racial profiling because i did exactly what juan williams did and i will just, lay it out there for you. if you're a muslim and get on my plane, you're being profiled. don't take it personal. just make no sudden moves. [laughter] i would consider cheating off an asian on my french
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test but i will not cheat off a hispanic on my spanish test. [laughter] we're susceptible because liberals are sneaky. take the lexicon for example. remember when you didn't have to explain to somebody what your partner meant? or when straight meant not crooked and gay men, happy, when queer was just strange or odd? black liberals want to be called african-americans when 99.9% of black people have never foot on african soil, don't know how many countries there are in africa, 53 in case you're ever asked or how many languages are spoken. i'm not going to answer that one because it varies but there is over 2,000. black people don't walk around trying to figure out if white folks are irish, german or whatever. the so stop calling us a continent. if you will hyphenate it, at least pick a region. what exactly is an
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entitlement? you're entitled to what you earn and everything else is a handout. [applause] and while we're on the subject, there is roughly 10% of the people in this country who need the help of this the government, the help of us the taxpayers. the government to facilitate that. the other 37 to 40% that are on our system, let me call them what they are. they are thieves. and you should call them that too. because that's what they are. and there are a lot more thieves than there are rich people trying to supposedly keep the poor down. i hate this discussion when we get into rich versus poor. i could talk for two hours on that. by the way, would you make an investment in a government agency? if you would, i honestly want to know which one you would pick. the government doesn't invest. it taxes and it spends.
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honest debate. we talked about it early today. there is no such thing as honest debate. that is liberal oxymoron. shared sacrifice. i just told you, the poor take more advantage of the people in this country, and i'm not talking about the poor i just described. the ones who truly need it. i'm talking about the deadbeat, lazy poor, that don't want to get off share butts and work. balanced approach. you know what balanced approach means it means that the government wants to take a lot more of your money and tell you that is the balanced approach. the government doesn't want us to know that we've gone from being citizens to being consumers. and we're consumers to who they. sell. they use our money to sell us a message. i can't stand to see a commercial where the government is telling me what they have done for me. save the money $192 million on signs telling us what the
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stimulus money went for. that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard? [applause] i don't know about you but i'm tired of being a consumer. we've all been born into this new form of slavery. wake up, "spartacus". the new slavery cost us $17 trillion, that was not adjusted for inflation. do you think obama will put the new number? he is already asking for 2.4 trillion. five years ago trillion was not even in our lexicon. call me nostalgic, but i long for my trash-talking afro-wearing days, when my parents fooled me into believing that a black man would no doubt become president one day. they raised me to believe if i fell in some hoarse poop, start looking for a pony. we descended into madness and these days, trying to recreate the america that i know and love, i honestly
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feel like i'm trying to pick fly poop off the head of a needle wearing boxing gloves. i let you guys catch up with the visual on that. i'm not discouraged though. because we are bonded together, all of us, to end identity politics. if you lead your life with your sexuality, i feel sorry for you. if you measure people by the color of their skin, you are a knuckle-dragging neanderthal and you need to wake up, rip van winkle. [applause] i fight for one race, the human race. with the understanding that to wage this fight from america, makes me one of the luckiest humans on the planet. [applause] there are not two people on this planet who are the same
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color. 6.5 billion people alive today. 6 billion died before us and not two of us have identally the same color. you think about that when you're thinking about identity politics. we're soldiers in a civil war against the left, and opponent who wants to divide and conner us and they are winning. we live in a conquered land where political castration has rendered us slaves. we may not be deployed on foreign land but this war is real and we have hit a time where losing is not an option. [applause] we fight to preserve a way of life that we treasure, a treasure that we want to pass along to our children and grandchildren and we know the enemy and that enemy is clearly in front of us. it is not just the left, it is our own. people too weak to hold firm
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on debt. too chicken to challenge the liberal lunacy even a third-grader can spot. i don't know about you but i'm tired of sissies fighting for me. republican boy scout fighting israeli commandos. i want warriors. [applause] i know what warriors look like. i know what they act like and boehner is not acting like a warrior. [applause] gk chestertown wrote the true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him but because he loves what is behind him. what is behind you? what are you fighting for? obama said recently that in 2012 would determine the right, determine if he is right about his direction for the country and seems to have already forgotten 2010. have you? i pray that you guys will learn more about my mission to the mission to bring youth and diversity to the conservative movement. you are a true representation of america. [applause]
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you are a true representation of america, a country that says give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your fear as long as you get here legally. [applause] conservatives represent the america that people around the world respect and envy, and i proudly represent you radical reconstructionists and beautiful group of unhyphenated americans and i fight for you, i fight with you because i am one of you. thank you for your time. god bless. [applause] >> kevin jackson. kevin jackson. >> here's what is coming up next from our q&a series. interview with author and historian david mccullough. a recent conference looking
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at public policy and constituent happiness from the aspen institute. later, mary frances berry speaking at afl-cio event >> he is a partisan guy who wants to unite people. i mean, all of the problems of the era, you could get
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from this guy and why we couldn't and why we couldn't elect him, is the same reason we eventually went to war. they couldn't be resolved. >> he has the misfortune of running against a great military hero, dwight eisenhower. and so, i don't really think there is anyway that adlai stevenson could have won. >> if you think of al smith in 1928, lost overwhelmingly to herbert hoover but, paved the way for franklin roosevelt. >> there are 14 people in this series, many of whom i guarantee viewers may never have heard of and all of whom i can pretty much guarantee will find interesting and fascinating and certainly surprising
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>> this week on "q&a quote, historian david mccullough. his latest book will be released this week. it is about many americans that went to paris from 1830 to 1900 to further their vocation. the book is called called, the greater journey, americans in paris. cspan: david mccall law, where did you get the title for you're new book the greater journey. >> guest: it happened on november 15th as a matter of fact. i somehow or another know exactly when i suddenly, thought, that's the title,
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the greater journey, because i was trying to think what is this book about? it's about a journey but, a different kind of journey or a mission or a an adventure, an odyssey, and i kept working with these words. the word journey kept coming back. and then i was then i was thinking about the voyage of these americans who ventured off to france at a time when they were all only able to go across the north atlantic by sailing ship. and it was rough and it was anything but traveling on a cruise liner. and, what a journey that was. and then they got to, they landed at lahab, almost all of them. and they went by land to
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paris which was a two-day trip by a huge cumbersome stagecoach affair. they would stop at rouon, halfway, and they would see for the first time a european masterpiece, and the masterpiece was the rouon cathedral. many of them wrote, at length, and very much from the heart about the impact of this one building, this one experience. and that they knew that something greater had begun. being in the old world. the old world to them was the new world. and, i thought that's it, the greater journey. they know then they are on a greater journey. which will be their experience, their spiritual, mental, professional,
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journey, in the city of paris, where they are trying to rise to the occasion, to excel in a particular field, whether it was writing or music or, painting or, sculpture or medicine because many of them in that day went to, as medical students, because paris was then the medical capital of the world. so there are, they're ambitious to excel, and they are going against the trend because, to go off to europe then was not fashionable, yet. and, it wasn't part of one's broadening education, yet. many of them had no money. many of them had no friends in europe. knew no one in paris and spoke not a word of the
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language. yet they were brave enough to go, to embark on the greater journey. cspan: this renoir painting, i first saw it, this cost them a lot of money to put that on there. i assume out of copyright or do you own the painting? >> guest: no, no, that belongs to a museum. it is a renoir of the pontuf. the new bridge. in fact it is the oldest bridge in paris. still there. looks just exactly like that. you can walk out to that very spot by the bridge, and except for the wagons and horses on the bridge in the painting, would be automobiles and buses now. and to many people that bridge is, particularly in that day before the eiffel tower had been built say, that bridge was the essence of paris. and it still is. it is one of the most magnificent spots anywhere in the world because you
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really feel you are there. when you are out on the bridge, you're looking up or down the river. you see note tra dame, you see the louve, you see the national institute on the other side, the next bridge up the river. and, one fellow, john sanderson from philadelphia said, i began to breathe when i got out on that bridge. but again, breathe is sort of free air of paris. cspan: a person by the name of william b. mc -- mccullough took this picture. >> guest: yes, sir. cspan: where is this and what year was this taken? >> guest: this was taken last year, last fall, october. william b. is my second son. a former cameraman in television and now has his own business as a builder in
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new england. and he is a wonderful photographer. he is a wonderful fellow to travel with. and, the picture was taken just outside the sarbanne on the left bank which is where many of these young americans went to study. they could go to the sorbonne for free. they could go to the school of medicine in paris for free. the french government had a policy all foreign students could attend their universities for nothing. they had to pay for their room and board but once they got there, there was no charge for attending the university. that was the greatest university in the world. imagine, a country doing that? and, and, that sorbonne, the experience of it, changed several lives, dramatically. and consequently, changed our story, our history. that's what interests me particularly, what did they bring home?
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what did they bring back? how were we affected? how did our outlook, our culture, our politics, our country change as a consequence of the american, of the paris experience of these americans? cspan: how many times have you been to paris? >> guest: well, rosalie and i went first in 1961. i was then part of the kennedy administration and i am very young. we were on our way to the near east. i was doing a magazine about the arab world for the u.s. information agency. and our first time we, there were no jets as yet, so we flew over. in a prop plane. took forever. we landed at night. it was february and cold and raining and didn't matter the slightest to us. we were in paris and we walked for hours that night, just, so thrilled to be there. and we have been going back
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fairly often ever since. i have never counted up the times that we've been to paris. probably 20 times, maybe more but i've also done research there before because part of the john adams book took place in paris as you know. and the jefferson, adams, franklin time in paris, a very important part of the american story. but i also was there to do work on my book about the panama canal because so much of that research material on the french attempt to build the canal is there. and then i went back to france to follow harry truman's experiences in the army in world war i. most of my business have been because of my work. though we have had a few times we went strictly for pleasure. it always, always with pleasure but the work's a pleasure too. cspan: up here on our screen is the gallery of the louvre
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which you write a lot about in the book. what is it. >> guest: that is painting by samuel f. morse, who invented the telegraph, one of the most important inventions of the 19th century. and morse felt obliged to bring european culture back to america. he had gone to paris, because as he said, i need paris for my profession, for my painting. i will become a better painter if i spend time there. they all felt that, those that went. and hundreds went. but he was one of the first and he decided that he was going to do a painting which would show americans what the inside of a great art museum looked like and what great masterpieces looked like. keep in mind, there were no museums of art in the united states. this was 1832 when it was painted. no museums of art. you couldn't go to a museum
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and look at painting anywhere in the united states. and very few paintings of any kind, unless they had been copied for private ownership were of the great masters. most of these, are renaissance paintings, italian paintings, some of which were already part of the louvre. you see the "mona lisa" right there, in the lower right-hand corner. that, had on purchased by francis the first whose portrait hangs over the door up on the right-hand side, right at the corner. cspan: how big is this painting? >> guest: the paint something six feet by nine feet. it's huge. and it, it was much bigger than anything of the kind of attempted by an american. no american had ever attempted to paint anything like this, until then. now he did a earlier painting, a famous painting
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which is at the corcoran here in washington, of a congress in session which had never been done before. he was always trying to break new ground. but the 30 some paintings in this, in this, in this picture, and, he, they are not how they were actually hung in the louvre. he went through the entire collection, over 1,000 masterpieces, picking out those paintings that he thought americans should know about, or that he thought, these are the paintings that i truly love, that i care about, and these are to me, the treasures of the world and i want, share them with my fellow countrymen. so he arranged them as it were in his mind, but he went and copied each of these paintings, as they hung in the gallery at the time, and many of them were hung very high up, just as they are here. so he had to build his own
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special scaffolding to move from spot to spot, to get up there, to paint them. now, a lot, he himself gave a key to this painting when it came back, so if you went to see it, on exhibit, you could see which paintings were which, which was the rembrandt. which was the partition and so forth but what he didn't give was a key to the people in the painting and there is a, in effect a code to this painting done by the man who virtually at the same time invented the morse code because his, he got the idea for the morse code, for the telegraph and the code while he was in paris, while he was in france. but the code, every parenting is a, is a collection of choices by the author, by the painter and it is not just what's in the
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painting. nothing is in a painting by accident. it is always there because somebody has thought about it. but there are also thinking about what is not in the paintings, what i'm leaving out, just as when one is writing a book or composing a symphony, you're leaving a lot out, have to. so, in people this picture which he has done because he wants to give scale to the room and to the painting, the main room, the grand gallery, which is in the center of the painting, is, is, was the largest room in the world. so that is sort of the vista in the painting. and this is the south area which is a smaller room, all exactly the same today, by the way. paintings aren't there that way but he is showing you the expanse of this space, the scale of this public,
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cultural, treasure, open to the public. but he is not showing you the public, that really, would have been there. there are no french aristocrats in the painting. there are no priests in the painting. there are no soldiers in the painting. all of whom, would have been there. every time the public was present, and would have been huge crowds, always. this amazed americans, not just how many paintings there were but how many people came and, all kinds of people. now he does have a woman from brittany who stands at the door to the left. her back to you and her child. and that's probably to show that people, people of all walks of life and from, and who don't live in paris are
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welcome here and come here. you can tell who she is is by that peak of her hat, that white cap. it is sort of a signature of the people coming from brittany. he himself stands down, down stage, front and center. he is the man bending over with the pretty young student who's working, making a copy of the veranese over on the left with the marriage at cana he is showing himself not just as a painter but as a teacher. and he is very proud of that, samuel morse, was. over in the left-hand corner is his best friend in paris, the great american author, james penny moore -- fenimore cooper, with his daughter and wife who is an art student. coming through the door is a
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sculptor named greeno, also a friend an american. another friend of his, harbaugh, who is over on the left who is an american artist in paris. now, what this painting also doesn't show is it, the tranquilty of the setting, the warmth of the red walls, the warmth of the glow in the grand gallery, conveys a sense that all is right with the world. outside those very walls is, one of the most horrific, deadly, scourges ever to hit paris, the great cholera epidemic of 1832. people were literally dying in the streets. dropping dead. 18,000 people died in less than six months, just in the city of paris.
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both of these men were terrified that they were going to contract the disease and die too. everybody who could get out of paris was leaving. but, cooper, who was very wealthy because his books, the last of the mohicans, were so successful could have left. he had his family with him. his wife was very ill and couldn't be moved. cspan: how old was he? >> guest: in his 40s. they both were in their 40s. morse, who had no money and was living very modestly was staying because he was determined to finish that painting before his money ran out and he had to leave. cooper, out of friendship to morse and to see him through this ordeal, came to the louvre every afternoon, to be with his pal, to sit with him, talk with him, while he
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worked. it is a, it is an amazing story of friendship, of a friend in need, and, both of these men were similar in some ways. they each had a distinguished father. they each went to yale university, yale college as it was then. they were each talented. they each lived in new york but they were vastly different in more ways, in more important ways and yet this bond of friendship was like very little i have ever written about or known about. it is a terrific story. and i felt that, not only is it immensely important painting and interesting painting to say the least, but it is an amazing story. i could have written a whole book just on this one painting. cspan: how long did it take him? >> guest: he worked on it just about a year.
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started in the fall of 1831 and finished it in late summer 1832. cspan: i read it is coming to washington this summer. >> guest: it is coming to the national gallery. it has just been to yale which was a thrill for everybody there because both morris and cooper went to yale. and the cooper, and the morse papers are at yale but the fact it is coming to the national gallery is thrilling. it deserves much more attention than it has been getting for a long time. it has been in storage for years. cspan: who owns it? >> guest: the terra foundation in chicago. cspan: they used to have a museum. no longer. >> guest: that's right. when he finished he thought maybe he could get enough money to, more than compensate him for all his work. he he might get somewhere, 3, $4,000 for it, which was considerable amount of money then. he couldn't sell it. finally somebody from up in cooperstown, cooper's hometown, bought it for
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$2,000. in the 1980s it sold for over $2 million which was the greatest amount of money ever paid for an american, a painting by an american at that point. no longer that way. but, it's a very important painting. cspan: in your book you have acknowledgements. you acknowledge a lot of people including a man named mike hill. >> guest: yes. cspan: interesting thing that i read was that he unlocked the magic of the ely hugh washburn diary. >> guest: yes. cspan: tell us who he was? what was the diary? where was it found? >> guest: first of all, mike hill worked for me 25 years now as a research assistant. he lives outside washington. with easy access not just to the great treasure houses of diaries and letters here at the library of congress and the archives and smithsonian but also, collections of places like charlottesville, virginia.
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and he does research for lots of other people too. he just doesn't work with me. cspan: whos else has he worked with? >> guest: he works with nathaniel fillbrick. he works with evan thomas. he works michael beschloss, a number of people. i don't know all of his clients but he is the best. and he was, hugh washburn, a little brac ground. washburn was a congressman from illinois who was a fellow congressman or fellow politician in illinois with abraham lincoln and a very close friend of abraham lincoln's. and when lincoln became president it was washburn, as much as anybody else who kept telling lincoln, you've got to give this man grant
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full chance to show what he can do because washburn came from galina, illinois, which where grant was living before the civil war started. but what also distinguished washburn, he was one of four brothers who all served in congress, in the house or the senate. all four from different states, all got reelected regularly. all four had distinguished careers. one was a general in the civil war. another was as mayor, as the governor of maine, was, it appears to have been the first person to refer to the new political party as the republican party. and they grew up on a hard scrabble farm in western maine in utter poverty. and, 10 children, and, all of those children were exceptional.
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and, it is, an amazing, amazing story. their mother could read but she felt very embarrassed because she might make it embarrassing for her children who became so distinguished, if she, were seen to be someone who wasn't as educated as she should have been. she was a very wise, bright, woman, who insisted to her children that education was everything. and if they could get an education and keep learning and keep the love of learning, there was nothing they couldn't do. after the civil war was over, and of course grant had distinguished himself conspicuously, washburn was exhausted and when grant became president, he first offered him a position of secretary of state, but washburn was quite ill and
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he declined it three days later. he said i can't do it. he appointed our minister, ambassador to france or paris. washburn went over thinking this will be just what i need to recover my strength and have a little peace apquiet with my family. he arrived on the eve of the franco prussian war and very short order, the germans were marching on paris and very short order the germans surrounded paris and paris was cut off from the world. all the other ambassadors for all the other powers left the city, got out. except washburn. and he says, it is my duty to stay here. and he stayed through the entire siege which lasted five months. and he stayed through the horrific, the god awful, bloody, commune that followed where french were killing each other by the thousands in the city of
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paris. he not only stayed and served admirably, helping americans who were there but also the germans who were there, had been living there, as workers, who were innocent of doing anything wrong, to get them out of the city on the request of the german government. some 20,000 of them. he organized, arranged all that, with special trains and so forth. and magnificent humanitarianian successful mission. but, through all that, he also kept a diary. every day and the diary wasn't just, did this quick little notes, did that. lunch with so-and-so. met with -- no. they are long, superbly written entries of real substance. there's nothing like them in existence. and, they were unknown.
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and, we, mike hill, found them and he found them in a place no one would think to look, in the library of congress. now what had happened was, that the family, or somebody had taken his letters, he also wrote letters, during this time, and, copies of the diaries, the diary entries were written on separate sheets of paper and later bound in an original diary. but he made, letter press copies as they were known, like a carbon copy, and another group was bound in with the letters, so that you couldn't tell that, if it said april 9th, if it was a letter, it doesn't say dear fred. just said april 9th. and these were all mixed in with these hundreds of letters. mike going through the
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letters, thinking they're all letters, suddenly realizes these aren't letters, and he went to jeff flannery who ran the manuscript division there and said, what's going on? jeff had never looked at it before closely. they suddenly realized these are diary entries but of course they were letter press. where is the original? well the original it turns out was up in maine. the family homestead up in maine. well, in writing the book i was able to draw on this experience and his attempt to save the life of the archbishop of paris, for example, who was imprisoned and going to be executed by the commonards as they were known, washburn was protestant. he was not a catholic but he greatly admired the are much bishop. and he knew this was a terrible thing that was happening because they were killing priests, executing them. and he was unsuccessful in
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saving that man's life. he was executed but, nobody tried harder to get him out. and that whole story, this is man that again, was quietly heroic, and his, his sense of duty was amazing, and ad mirable in the extreme. but also, i think he felt a strong sense of the duty to keep that diary. he would come in, after, a terrible day of seeing the most hard breaking and sometimes nauseating experiences and acts of human savage ry and sit down at 1:00 in the morning, write long entries in superb english. the use of the command of the language, it is humbling. here was a man who never really had an education as we would call it today. but this is true of the
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letters and diaries i worked with through the whole book. people like charles sumner. people like emma willard, the great champion of higher education for women or elizabeth blackwell, the first woman doctor in america. they were wonderful writers and they weren't writing writing. they weren't writing to be published. they were writing letters. it was a time when people believed in writing letters and writing letters was part of life. part of what you were expected to do. . . is not
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sufficient. i wanted to know more. i wanted to learn more. i'm going to go to paris. so he borrowed $3,000 from friends. closed up his law office. he went to the sarba, in nes attending lectures in everything, theology, classics, everything. c-span: in french or english. >> guest: in french. he doesn't speak french so he had to learn french. a crammed course he organized himself with tutors and about a month later he was able to do
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it. undaunted to these people is inspiring. and he attended the lectures. and he kept a journal. and the journal is fabulous. it was published in four volumes. in the journal he writes about who's he's meeting and learning. and there's one journal where the speaker was sort of tedious and he found himself looking around the lecture hall, his mind wandering and he noticed that the students -- other students and several hundreds -- several thousand in this lecture halls, that the other students treated the black students who were there just as though they were like everybody else. acted the same. c-span: what year? >> guest: this is in 1836.
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c-span: how old was he then? >> guest: he was young. he was still in his 20s. and he wrote in the diary, maybe how we treat black people at home is the result of what we've been taught, it's not part of the natural order of things. that's almost exactly, quote-unquote. it was an epiphany for him. it's as if he suddenly saw the light, truly, because we know he'd been to washington on a trip before he went to paris and had seen slaves working in the field in maryland and thought they looked like -- that's all they were good for. he had no sympathy for people in bondage. no sensible interest in african-americans at all.
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came home with this new point of view. got into politics. was elected to the united states senate in his 40s, early 40s, and he became the power house voice for abolition, changed by that experience in paris. that's bringing home something that's not tangible. it's not a work of sculpture or a painting or a musical composition. and he brought home an idea. and a new mission. the beating left him left him very damaged, both psychologically and physically. and he went back to paris several times to relieve himself of these anxieties that he felt. his inability to perform as a senator and it always helped him. he came home and carried on.
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i think he's one of the most admirable figures in our story. his statue stands at the public garden in boston. i doubt that one bostonian in 1,000 has any idea who he was. we all should know. c-span: your time frame on this whole book is from when to when? >> guest: 1830 to 1900, 70 years. it's a period that hasn't been looked at much. a great deal has been written, marvelous things have been written about jefferson, adams and franklin in paris in the 18th century. and an enormous amount as you know has been written about the 1920s and the '30s, gertrude stein and f. scott fitzgerald. i think that -- i've been
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thinking a lot about this idea and this point of view. i think that history, as you know, is much more just politics and social issues. it's also medicine, science and art, music, theater and poetry and ideas. and we shouldn't run things into categories. it's all part of the same thing. and one of the most interesting characters in this study that you've done is oliver wendell homes, sr., who spent his whole life -- devoting his whole life on medical science. he was on the harvard medical school board for many years and a very prominent physician to the medical school. there was no incongruity and he also wrote poetry and essays and
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helped start a magazine called "the atlantic monthly." it's all part of it. and i think that's the way history ought to be taught and i think it ought to be the way it's written. it's the way i would like to think myself more about as time goes on. my own life, i at one point i thought i wanted to be a painter. another point i wanted to be an actor. another point i thought i wanted to be an architect. all along i thought i wanted to be a writer. but it's all there. it's all part of what we are about, we human beings. history is human. i was writing down messages down one time. it was a number of years ago. c-span: here in washington. >> guest: yeah. on my way to work, driving.
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and i got to sheridan circle. i was driving -- it was rush hour, and the traffic was terrific. there was a traffic jam at sheridan circle. there was old phil sheridan, old general sheridan in the circle with the requisite pigeon on his head. it's a wonderful statue. it's a beautiful statue. he's the one who did the faces of the president in the black hills. and i wondered at the time as i wonder about charles sumner in the garden, how many americans know who that man is? how many people drive around this circle every day twice a day have any idea who they're looking at and why it's called sheridan's circle. at the same time, gershwin rhapsody in blue was playing on my car radio.
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gershwin is as alive this minute for me and anybody else stuck in this traffic jam who has tuned in to the same station as he was in the 1900s. he's real. now who's the more important character in history, bill sheridan or bill gershwin? well, the answer is they both are very important. it may be that thinking about gershwin started me thinking about americans in paris and the whole -- that part of gershwin's repertoire and the movie and gene kelly and thinking of paris, americans in paris. i don't know where the idea first began. it may have begun back when i was in high school. i don't know. c-span: one of the things that you read through the book -- it's over 500 pages. lots of different characters. you read about central paris. >> guest: yes. c-span: and today there's 11 million-plus in that whole paris
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area. we have some map where you can describe where these locations are. we can just throw up anything we've got of that area, the tullery gardens, chams-elysses. how much did you write all about? >> guest: right now we're looking -- it looks like the tullery gardens and they are very important in the story of all of the people that i have written about. and they are -- they are right at the louvre. one end is the louvre. and they lead up toward the champs-elysee up to the larc d eshe trompe. the arc is still very much the
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same as it was back then. the louvre itself is -- there you are in the sienne and this is the pedestrian bridge, a wonderful bridge just for people made of iron, as it was originally. it's a favorite place to gather as is to walk along the caves by the river today. the pa lsh palais de royale, th hard for me to see. if i were to walk with you, brian, around that section of paris, i can show you an amazing number of places that are just the same as they were then,
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where these particular people all were and stayed. rosalie and i stay in the hotel de louvre, which is at the foot of avenue of the opera. if you have a picture of the avenue of the opera, it was in the book. it's in the backseat in the book. it's taken from what's called the pazarro room which is where pazarro did a number of his paintings and looking straight up on the avenue toward the opera house, that looks exactly the same today as it did then. this, of course, is looking at the eiffle tower which was built for the world's fair. the hotel de louvre, which is still there, is where morris and his family stayed when they came back later on. it's where mark twain stayed. it's where nathaniel hawthorne stayed. history is everywhere in paris.
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and that is one of the things that so impressed the people when they went over. keep in mind that everything here was still relatively new. independence hall wasn't even 100 years old. we think as a historic old building. it wasn't even 100 years old. and when they got to a cathedral, a great gothic cathedral it was built before columbus ever sailed. that to them was an overwhelming experience itself. sumner called it the prestige of age. and with the louvre on the left and -- c-span: don't you have your own painting in the book, rue der rivulet. >> guest: this is part of the collection i have, this one here. if you can pull that at the end
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sheet. the first is of the rue de rivilet -- no, the end sheet. if you took the wagons and horses out and put automobiles in, that view from the hotel de louvre is exactly the same today. over here by the fountain and rosalie and i stay at the hotel de louvre and this is very close of the window of the room we've been getting. now, turn it to the opposite end of the book, the front end, and that rue de rivelet. and that's about 1900 and that looks exactly the same today,
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too, with the stores and the colonnade on the left. that's the tullery garden on the right and the louvre -- part of the louvre on the right, that building rising up on the right. now, that picture and the one that's on the end sheet of the book are postcards of my mother's parents brought back from paris after a visit there about 1907. postcards -- the photographs are probably taken about 1900. and those postcards were up in our attic in an album. they saved all the postcards. and they're just as sharp as you can see. just as sharp and clear as if they'd been taken yesterday. and they're over 100 years old. my mother was 7 years old, so -- she's remember some of it so i heard some of these stories as a child but she didn't remember an awful lot. c-span: in the book you bring your family in a lot.
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tim lawson is your son-in-law. >> guest: yes. c-span: married to dory who actually represents you. >> guest: yes she does. tim is a painter, a very good painter. c-span: what did he do? >> guest: well, he went me -- for example, he went with me to see this painting of the gallery of the louvre when it was in storage in chicago. and he went with me to see the work at his home in cornish, new hampshire. he went with me to the metropolitan. he went with me often to -- particularly, to the fine arts in boston to look at the sergeants that are there and to look there. c-span: you said your daughter melinda read every -- >> guest: i marshall the whole -- the whole team, as it were. and my son david, jr. -- he
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teaches english in high school and he went over all my grammar and punctuation very carefully and rosalie is my editor-in-chief. c-span: your wife? >> guest: i read everything -- or she reads everything allowed to me. i want to hear it. i write for the ear. i try to write for the ear as well as the eye. it's what all the great writers i've admired for much of my life did. c-span: what book is this for you? what number? >> guest: this is number 9. c-span: are you going to do another book? >> guest: i don't know. c-span: the last time we talked about this business was 2005 up in maine and you said you have 12 ideas for a book and this is the book that came out of those 12 ideas. >> guest: yes. c-span: you have another list as well that you're looking at? >> guest: up to 27 now. c-span: 27? [laughter] c-span: what was this experience like writing this book compared
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to the others? >> guest: i thought a good deal about that because it's been different. and i usually enjoyed every subject i've ever undertaken, except one. and i stopped the project after a couple months. i knew it wasn't right for me. c-span: that was -- >> guest: it was about picasso. yeah, it was a long time ago. so i'm not in any way trying to say that the previous work has been less than i would have wished. it's more than i ever would have wished in every case. but i have had a better time writing this book than anything i've ever done. i think in part because so much of it is about subjects that really matter to me. that mattered to me all my life. it's what i love.
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not that i don't love history in the usual sense, politics, american history of all kinds, but to be able to write about people like augustus st. gardens, the sculpture. to write about louis gottshalk. c-span: who all went to paris. >> guest: who all went to paris. i love architecture. i think architecture may be our most important art form because we live in it. it shapes us. and paris really is about architecture. there's no natural blunder there. no cover of the mountain range in the distance, no beautiful
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shoreline in the sea. the river's there but rivers are in lots of cities. it's what people have built. and what they put their heart and soul into. it's not just what's in the museums. it's the museums themselves. and the idea that there was no school of architecture in america, none. so these people who went over, these young men who almost all at that time like richard morris hunt, like louis sullivan, charles mckim, h.h. richardson who changed the look of our cities, changed the look of america, all went there to study architecture at the bose arts. you go to boston, trinity church on one side, h.h. richardson created the bose arts. look across the square, the public library from charles
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mckim who trained at the bose art and very similar in many ways to the biblotechs in paris. they were taken from inspiration in paris. and, again, and again they all wrote they wanted to bring something home to make something better here. they were doing something they felt was a service to their country, not just of their own ambition. c-span: you have not mentioned george healy and i'm going to put up here on our screen the painting that you write about, webster's reply to heine. who was george healy and how long -- >> guest: well, george healy is to me a great american -- he
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grew up in the streets of boston, no money, no education. a talent as a paint and draw. and he was told, you're good. you can go all the way with this talent. but he knew -- he had to go train with somebody. he had nobody to train with. there was no art school. so without any money, except for what he had been able to save, no knowledge of french, knowing no one in paris, he went to paris. and he became the most sought-after and in many ways most accomplished portrait painter, american portrait painter in the 19th century. there's seven of his paintings at the white house. there's 17 of his paintings in the national portrait gallery. his paintings are in most every gallery -- major gallery in the united states. he was phenomenal.
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but he also -- this painting right here is the biggest single work ever did by far. i can't remember the dimensions but they're enormous. it covers the whole back wall behind the stage at the -- at nathaniel hall in boston, one of the most historic buildings in the united states. and this is webster's reply to heine, a famous moment in the congress and daniel webster is on the right and there's all these other characters that are portrayed there are actual -- from actual studies, most all of them, of faces that he did at the time. so it is an accurate historic document. he's also put a few people in there that were not present when heine webster delivered his great speech because he wanted to include them. it was painted in paris.
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it cost him almost two years of his work, of his life, professional life. he got much like morris he got scarcely what he hoped he would be recompenced for it, which was $2,000. he said it didn't matter because he felt like he recorded something and made a contribution, not just to part of the portraiture but to the history of his country. c-span: how long did it take you to write this? >> guest: four years. c-span: where did you do most of the writing? >> guest: well, i did a lot of the writing on martha's vineyard where we live and i did a lot of the writing in maine where we also spend a good part of the year. i did some of it when we were traveling. i spent a great deal of time in
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washington, boston, new york, looking at paintings, looking at architecture and, of course, doing research with original documents, original letters and diaries. c-span: the tour begins on may the 25th. you've got framingham, massachusetts, washington, d.c., new york city. politics and prose here. kauffman concert hall in new york city. that's june 6th. june 8th, the dallas museum of art, june 11th, heinz history center that's in pittsburgh. is that wayzata, minnesota? why there? >> guest: it's outside of minneapolis because of a wonderful friend of mine, bill water, who's very active in the national park foundation has organized an event and wants me to come and do it.
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c-span: philadelphia, then harvard bookstore and then the tour as listed is closed on -- later on in june at portsmouth, new hampshire. >> guest: yes. c-span: how do you feel about this? >> guest: i love it. c-span: why? >> guest: i like to meet the people that read my work. i like to -- i like to see what's going on in these different places. i enjoy -- i enjoy talking to audience. and particularly audiences that are a mixture of generations. i guess it's the irish in me. c-span: maybe i missed it. you didn't answer my question about whether you're going to do another book. >> guest: no, i didn't. [laughter] >> guest: i didn't.
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c-span: what's your thinking? >> guest: oh, i'm thinking all the time about it. nothing happens when one of these ideas just clicks. that's it. and i can't explain what that process is. i just know that's what i want to do. and it will happen. it will be different. i've never undertaken the subject that i knew a lot about. i didn't know much about john adams. i knew a certain amount. i wasn't an adams scholar or a reuben scholar or a brooklyn bridge scholar. if i knew all about it, i wouldn't want to write the book 'cause to me, the pull is the adventure. the learning of it.
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i think about how much i'm going to learn taking on this subject. i want to be surprised. i want to make discoveries. i want to not just make discoveries of some collection of letters someplace you wouldn't expect to find them but i want to make the discovery that comes with suddenly, oh, i get it. that's how it works. well, that's who did that. that to me -- the work is the reward. c-span: the name of the book is "the greater journey: americans in paris." our guest has been david mccullough and we thank you. >> guest: thanks, brian. i love to have a conversation with you. [inaudible] ♪
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>> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q & q & a programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> >> this week on q & a, part 2 with our conversation with historian david mccullough. his newest book "the greater journey:americans in paris" it's
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the story of some of the americans who went to paris between 1830 and 1900 to further their training and careers. c-span: david mccullough, author of "the greater journey:americans in paris 1800 to 1900." of all the people you wrote in this book who would not really want to meet or talk with because of what you learned about them? >> guest: i can't think of one. i'll tell you why. this book was different for me, in form than anything i've ever done because you're writing a biography or you're writing the history of an event or an
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accomplishment, there is a certain obvious track, a certain structure that's built into the subject. and you're obligated to respect that and cover it, write about it, in all fairness to your reader. the cast of characters is already ordained. for this book, i could cast the book myself. i would pick the people that i wanted to write about. but probably 12 major characters of the book. probably 20-some people overall who appear but that's a fraction of the number that went to paris during this 70-year period that i'm covering. so in organizing the book,
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organizing my approach to the subject, i was in many ways like a casting director. they would come in, show me what they could do, tell me their story and i'd say, don't call me. i'll call you, in effect. so i'm picking the people that i want to keep company with, for 40 years. i didn't pick anyone that i thought would be uninteresting so there are none of them that i wouldn't give a great deal to meet, to talk to. c-span: well, the characters in the book, which one has the most see in the united states, a museum or a home where you could see their work or life. >> guest: st. gardens.
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c-span: what did he do? >> guest: he in my opinion, in the opinion of numbers of others, he's the greatest american sculpture. the most most famous work is the shaw memorial in boston, which is about colonel shaw in the 54th regiment, the 54th all-black regiment, which most of them were killed including colonel shaw at charleston. it's the first piece of american art to portray black americans, african-americans as heroes. it's spectacular. and there's a copy of it in the national gallery, a duplicate.
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c-span: here? >> guest: yes. his famous adams memorial which is in rock creek cemetery which was for the wife of henry adams, a very metearious sculptural work which remains constantly of interest because of its mystery and there's the sherman statue which is in memorial which is the goddess of victory leaving him. it's gilded magnificent piece. i think the greatest equestrian statue in america history. and there's another one in madison square in new york city. a superb piece and done in paris, as was the sherman statue. and then there's his home, which is the national park site at
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cornish, new hampshire, where you can see just about everything he'd done. he'd done coins and he did everything. he's conspicuous, and there's john singer sargent and mary cassatt. >> is cooperstown new york made after him? >> guest: no, named after his father. c-span: back to john singer sargent in a second. >> guest: there he is. there he is. c-span: what was his age? >> guest: john singer sargent was an american prodigy. he was -- he was a gifted -- notably astonishly gifted painter when he was still 18.
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he painted several of his major masterpieces he was. he was still in his 20s. his madam x, the daughters of edward boyte, and the spanish dancer all done in paris. excuse me, and all done while still in his 20s. there's madam x. madam x -- he was an american living in paris and this painting was done and considered scandalous because of her pose, her low cut evening attire. there he is, sargent as a young man standing in his studio with the portrait of madam x behind him. c-span: who is mary casatt?
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>> guest: mary casatt was an american in paris who decided she was not just going to be a woman who paints. that he was she was going to be a painter. that's her self-portrait. a beautiful watercolor self-portrait. and she became the only american artist who was accepted by and taken in by the impressionists as one of them in paris. and her paintings -- the painting of her mother called had reading of the figeroa. the first of her impressionist paintings and her paintings are almost entirely about women, women seen in private life, in the purity of home or the garden. doing private things, sitting, meeting, having tea. and their hold on the viewer has
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been consistent for well over 100 years. and her importance as a master, as a genius of american art only increases with time. she was a brave woman 'cause she went to europe as seriously as no woman had, no american woman, and bound to excel and certainly did. and having through much of her life to look after her parents with whom she lived in paris most of her adult life. [coughing] >> guest: excuse me. c-span: who were the ones who had the most interesting personal story, the relationships of their wives, their children and all that and when they were in paris?
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>> guest: well, i think in many ways saint-gaudens was the most interesting story. he was a shoemaker in new york and he was 13 years old when he was put to work which was called cameos which was an art form then. wearing cameos was popular with women and men. and he learned the art of cameo-cutting. also demonstrated that he had the ability as an artist and sculpture beyond that. and his shoemaker father helped pay for him to go to -- take some art courses at cooper union in new york, which was one of the first art schools. this was after the civil war when things had changed in the united states, the availability of training of the art and he went off to paris at the age of 18 to become an sculpture. he was the first american
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admitted to the bose arts. admission in the bose arts would be like getting into one of the greatest universities today. c-span: what is the bose arts? >> guest: the bose arts is the school of art and architecture and sculpture in paris on the left bank. still there. same place where he went. and he studied in paris up to the time of the outbreak of the franco war. he was three years in paris as a student. he came back in the 1870s for another three years by which point he was married, and his wife was a painter. they had met while she was studying painting in italy. the story of their marriage is extraordinary. and i was able to tell that story because her letters which number more than 200 have all survived and they're all in the
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library at dartmouth college which they finally established on the connecticut river in new hampshire. c-span: did you go there? >> guest: oh, yeah, indeed. both to look at the letters in dartmouth and to cornish. c-span: i know that you say that you used information from over 30 different institutions. >> guest: that's right. c-span: how many different places did you physically go? >> guest: just about all of them. harvard, yale. a collection is in boston. a collection is in new york. a collection here in washington. c-span: chicago. >> guest: chicago. c-span: how many times -- >> guest: i love that. i love that part of it. c-span: how many times did you go to paris. >> guest: at least once a year so four times and we would stay
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about two weeks. the research was almost all here, brian, because the letters are here. the diaries are here. the letters are written to people back home. the diaries were brought home. so the diaries are accessible to this country. and and is of utmost importance, a newspaper which was published in paris in english. and the library of congress has a complete set of all those newspapers and they are invaluable. and it's still a book shop in paris. c-span: but isn't he a italian? >> guest: he was an italian from england who started the newspaper. it wasn't an american paper it was an english-language paper
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for england. c-span: how much of that did you read? >> guest: well, an enormous amount. well, i would guess what goes into a book is 1-20th of what has been read. so i read -- i don't know how to quantify it. hundreds of pages of typewritten pages. c-span: you do it here in town or did you go to the library of congress -- >> guest: well, i do it at the library of congress with mike hill who works with me or mike makes transcriptions of it from the library of congress, particularly, transcriptions of letters because he's much better at reading handwriting than i am. and very fast on the computer typing it up. so he will often spend days at the library of congress or the archives transcribing these
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newspaper accounts or the letters. but then i have to go through them and decide i want this or i want to use that or i need more of such and such. and there were times when we'd both go together to look at things. i couldn't do what i do without him, with his help. to leave home to washington or to philadelphia or wherever these differents might be time after time after time and get transcribed would put my book -- it would probably would have taken me seven years instead of four. and i'm at a stage now where if if he were to tell me he wouldn't do that anymore, then i probably wouldn't do that kind of book.
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i would do something more personal or accessible for my own collections or my own recollections. c-span: i'm going to ask you a question. you probably don't want to answer it but i'll ask it anyway. you've written, what, 10 books. >> guest: 9. c-span: 9 books. >> guest: yep. c-span: how do you think this book is going to do? >> guest: i don't mind answering that because i don't know. i don't know how any book would do. c-span: what was your biggest? >> guest: john adams. c-span: second biggest. >> guest: i'm not sure. c-span: truman? >> guest: i'm not sure. 1776 might be. i've never sat down and thought, what -- how will this sell or what -- what do people want to read about now? you can't do that. c-span: what about your publisher? >> guest: well, they never said no to me. whatever i wanted to do, they said fine.
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i may have told you this story before. we're old friends. you've got to hear these stories more than once, right? [laughter] >> guest: i was working on my second book and i went one night to a party with rosalie and we were introduced by the hostess a woman in washington, who was a somebody, or thought so. and david mccullough is writing a book about the brooklyn bridge. she put her head back and she said, who in the world would ever want to read a book about the brooklyn bridge. well, i was young, in my early 30s, and i was just launching into my second book. and i was really -- really mad that she'd said that. and on the way home, i was practically punching the dashboard as i was driving the
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car. before we got home, it suddenly dawned on me. it's a perfectly good question. who in the world want to read a book about the brooklyn bridge? and what's your answer, mccullough? and my answer was, i would. i want to read it. the book that i want to read about the brooklyn bridge doesn't exist. i'll write it so i can read it. and that in many ways is what i've been doing with all the books. i want to write about john adams. i want to know about john adams. whether the great reading public does, i have no idea. and i've had a publisher who's believed in what i was doing and believed in my books and i've never had a different publisher from simon & schuster and all my books are still in print and that means more to me than anything else about my writing
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life. c-span: have you had different writers at simon & schusters. >> guest: yes, i have. c-span: what kind of role do they play? >> guest: it's like life. it depends on the personality of the editor. each has contributed substantially in his way. and i'm very fond of the people at my publishers. a lot of authors don't feel that way. but i am. the reason i stay with simon & schuster is i'm so fond of the people i worked with. i've had the same editor since i published my first book more than 40 years ago. gypsy de silva. a wonderful woman as well as a terrific cope editor. c-span: have you changed the way you write and what you write on and what about this book? you said you wrote some of it on martha's vineyard, some of it on maine and some when you travel. it sounds like a computer now.
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>> guest: no, no. c-span: no computer. >> guest: i work on a manual typewriter. c-span: still? you take it with you. >> guest: i take it with me. if it can't go, i won't write. when i thought i was going to try to write a book, 1965, after living in white plains, new york, i was working in new york, as an editor and writer at american heritage magazine. and i thought, well, i'm going to -- i did my writing at the office, on the job. so i'm going to -- and i had a portable typewriter but if i'm going to undertake a book i better get a real typer. i bought a secondhand royal typewriter. high-rise black with a little with the glass covers on it, the dish letters. and i -- i probably paid $50 for it. maybe less. i've written everything i have
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written ever since, everything on that typewriter and there's nothing wrong with it. it is a magnificent example of superb american manufacturing. nothing wrong with it at all. it probably has 975,000 miles on it. and i have to change the ribbons, obviously. and my children, my friends, others say to me, don't you realize how much faster you could go if you use a computer? well, of course, i could go faster. i don't want to go faster. if anything, i want to go more slowly. i don't think all that fast and i love the idea of a key coming up and printing a letter. i could understand that. i would be horrified to think as i was working if i pressed the wrong button it was going to zap out two weeks or two months of work.
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i'm technologically challenged, i guess, is the explanation. and sometimes i wonder maybe -- maybe it's writing the books, the typewriter. c-span: what do you do about the information that you've gathered -- the references and all that and the diaries, how do you do that when you travel? do you have that on a computer? >> guest: no, i have it in file folders. and i take it with me. i take whatever chapter -- the chapter i'm working on, so i put it in the car, i put it in the back, i put it in the trunk, just along with the typewriter and away we go. and i'm writing all the time. i'm writing when i'm flying in a plane. i don't literally writing. i'm thinking. people -- people often say to me, a perfectly good question how much time do you spend writing and how much of your time do you spend doing research? great question. no one ever says how much of your time do you spend thinking?
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that's probably the most important part of it. just thinking about it. thinking about it. what you've read and what you need to re-read. what you need to think more about. putting things out literally on the table and looking at it. putting a painting, a reproduction of a painting and really looking at that painting and thinking about that painting or the setting. where things happened is very important to me. this whole book that i've just written about paris, where it happened. another book i wrote is set in brooklyn. another was set in panama. much of several books are set here in washington. and i believe that the setting has great effect on what -- the way things happen, the way
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things went. the setting is part of history. just as the who is part of the why and so i really have to soak up the setting. so when rosalie and i went to paris. i went there to walk to walk and i went to see it in the winter when it's awful and damp and cold and grave. the summer and the spring and the fall i went to the augustus saint gaudens and i made the walk over from his apartment to the studio to see if that was right. i want to be out the way the others were and feel what they felt.
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c-span: that's a bridge. >> guest: yes, that's a bridge. and pontiff means the new bridge. the whole -- i think listening, smelling, feeling what the chair feels like, rubbing your hand on the surface of the cathedral sculpture, on the exterior, all of that is part of getting closer to it. i'm trying -- always trying to get closer to those people. closer to that place. closer to that time. and asking questions. i do a lot of -- i spend a lot of time with students, lecturing
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or visiting occasionally at the university or college and they're so programmed, responsible for being able to answer questions that i wonder sometimes how much experience, how much time they spent asking questions. that's how you find things out. you ask a lot of people. people have a feeling that what i do is a -- as others do, that it's a solitary endeavor. not at all. i'm with people all the time, talking to people, working with librarians, working with archivists, talking to experts, talking -- when i was writing about augustus saint-gaudens i spent the day with a sculpture
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finding out how it's done. what's hard? what's easy? what's chancy? what's dangerous? and the same thing with painters or politicians or -- i remember reading once, for example, that woodrow wilson, when he was a historian scholar, wrote a book, a very famous book -- an important book about congress. never step foot in congress once the whole time he was working on the book. you go and watch how it's done, listen to it, get a sense of the timing and the times when people are not doing anything much. the dead time as it were in their lives and how they handle that. i love reading about washburn, for example. we get so restless sitting in congress he couldn't stand it to
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sit and listen to the other people talk. he started to rattle through pages at his desk or he would see somebody up in the gallery and visit with them. he got just so antsy and he couldn't cope with it. c-span: what are you going to do with the typewriter. where are you going to put the david mccullough papers? >> guest: i don't know. i'll probably -- i would like to think that yale will -- my alma mater will be interested in the papers. the typewriter, that may become an heirloom in the mccullough family, i don't know. c-span: it's the same kind of thing -- when you go out and look at -- >> guest: oh, yes indeed. c-span: people want to see your -- >> guest: yep. the typewriter is part of the process for me. c-span: what about the -- >> guest: it's like driving an old car that you've been driving for mistaken years. you just want it. c-span: what about the little house you do all your --
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>> guest: right. i don't know. i don't think about that, brian, but thank you for asking. c-span: maybe if i can get an answer from you some day. in this book -- a couple people you write about are french. more than a couple. you got a big painting on one page of the lafayette and you also write about alexis de tocqueville coming here while everybody else was going there. put those in lafayette in context. >> guest: well, lafayette was the last living hero of the revolutionary war at the time these young people were starting over to paris. and several of them, emma willard, morris and cooper had all been involved with lafayette's famous visit to the united states in 1826 -- 1824. and they were going in parts of paris because they wanted to see him again while he was still
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alive. and that painting is by morris. and it hangs in the city hall in new york. it's a magnificent painting, very large, very important painting. lafayette adored these people. and he gave a great deal of time to all of them. and he was terribly symbolic. wonderfully symbolic. terribly important. c-span: there's a big painting of lafayette in the house of representatives. i mean, how important was he to this country? >> guest: he was very important in the symbolism of an aristocrat -- a wealthy achrist crat from france coming -- joining in the fight. soldiering on with our army. also, of course, he was very symbolic of the part france paid in our revolutionary war. it wasn't just that they sent an
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army over here, but that they really bankrolled the cost of the war. they loaned the money that it took to carry the war to completion and victory on our part. schlt. -- the army was larger under rochambeau than washington. we're sitting here in a city designed by a frenchman, the french engineer and architect, the great symbolic work of sculpturist gateway of the statue of liberty. countless rivers and towns, universities, colleges, all over the country with french names. we don't pronounce them the way
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they do, but the influence of france on this country is far greater than most americans appreciate. we doubled the size of the country, more than doubled the size of the country with the louisiana purchase, which, of course, was a decision made by napoleon to sell that vast holding. c-span: another frenchman did this painting, the raft of medusa. >> guest: yes. this was a painting that simply froze, captivated, enthralled americans first arriving at the louvre, as it still does and one american who is swept away about it and wrote very passionately and eloquently about it was harry beecher stowe. most people don't think of harriet beecher stowe in paris
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but she was in paris a great deal and loved it and it had a very profound affect on her. c-span: what did she do in paris and how long was she there? >> guest: she was primarily there to hide away from the publicity that surrounded her publication of ""uncle tom's cabi cabin" and it hadn't been published in french and when she got to paris she could go anywhere without causing any stir. and she spent a lot of time at the louvre. she spent a lot of time just walking the city. ..
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>> it's considered such an important part of life that you discover how much of that love and that respect is in you, part of human nature. c-span: your bookended up on a series on hbo? >> guest: yes. c-span: is there a series on this book? >> guest: not that i know of yet. c-span: is there a story here though? >> guest: i could have written a whole book on at least seven of the chapters in this
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14-chapter book. c-span: give us an idea of which seven. >> guest: the story of the medical students which in many ways for me was the most exciting research and reading for the whole book. what those young people went through, how much they learned about medicine that they could have never have learned here, how far behind medicine in the united states was, and why it was far behind, and the marathon, the gauntlet that intellectual student gauntlet that they had to run in order to keep pace with the doctors that they were studying with. c-span: two, give us a second one. >> guest: the cooper morris story, samuel fbmorris and the
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gallery pointing of the lou and the cholera epidemic and the friendship as a consequence. c-span: we have a lot of french history around eli washburn, but how many republics were there in the seven years you wrote about? do you remember? >> guest: i don't understand your question. c-span: there have been five french republics. i wrote down the dates of them because everybody says, oh, yeah, it's the 5th republic now. >> guest: i think there's two. c-span: first is 1702 and 1804. you get lost in the story. thrfsz a second republic of 48-52. the third one was 70 to 1940.
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>> guest: yes, those are the three. c-span: what happened in france in the 1800s? what was the overall story of what went on in that country? >> guest: well, you went from a king, a so-called citizen king, louis phillip, and he was thrown out by an uprising and then escaped with his wife and their lives and lived out the rest of their lives in europe, in england. he's a very interesting man in part because he spent a good time here in the united states when he was in exile from france because of the french revolution. although he fought in the revolution as a soldier for the revolution, but he came to the united states, sailed down the ohio river all the way down the mississippi with his brother.
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he was young, still in his 20s, a guest of washington and at mount vernon. he worked for a waiter as awhile at a restaurant that's still in business in boston, the union oyster house. when the americans showed up over there, george catlin there with his paintings in the 1840s, those native americans were astonished to say he'd be out there on the great plains, spent time there with their tribes, could speak some of their language, and he really seemed more of the western -- what was then the wild west -- then all but very few americans. from the point of view of the americans who came to paris, he was a wonderful king, and he would walk through the gardens in the afternoon.
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it was a qua sai republic with a monarchy, but it didn't last but ten years. then came in another first republic, and then after that came, that -- napolian iii, as he called himself, made himself emperor that led to the complete rebuilding of paris under him. the paris that we see today is really the paris that napolian polian the third and chief officer in charge of the reconstruction in paris, george houseman, that's the paris we know today with the grand boulevards, opening up of avenues, planting of the trees, expansion, and so forth, all done during that napolian iii epic.
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then came another revolution -- it came the frank oppression war, and after the frank oppression war, another regime took charge after the defeat of the commonards as they were called, which was in effect the french civil war where they slaughtered each other in the most atrocious fashion irrespective of men, women, children, just a hideous blood bath in paris. the americas, many of them, were witness to this, and sometimes to their detriment and other times part of the adventure of having that experience in their live. one of the most admirable is mary putnam, the first american woman to get a medical degree
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who refused to leave during the siege of paris, a dangerous and difficult time to be there. people were starving to death, and because she was determined she was going to get her degree, and she came back to become one of the leading figures in american medicine. c-span: how many of the americans you wrote about died in paris? >> guest: relatively few. some dies there because they decided they would stay. mary cosett died in france. she never came home to live, but by and large, they all went home. george heeley lived a long life and still actively in demand as a portrait painter late in life, but he knew his days were numbered, and he wanted today at home, so he came back and died
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in chicago. c-span: can you think of another one? >> guest: i could write a book about agustus. c-span: she was gussie? >> guest: she was a cousin of the american painter. there's a chapter i would enjoy writing, but i think the chapter that is about mary casett and john mary car gent i would enjoy as a major book because you have these contrasting personalties, american geniuses painting 234 paris at exactly the same time living in an entirely different world within the world of paris. paris is like all great cities
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with many worlds within the world of paris, and mary casett and john singer sergeant were worlds apart but neighbors in the same city and both painting what would prove to be american masterpieces. it was more than standing the test of time, but would become more important with the test of time. c-span: you talk about benjamin rush's son, richard rush. where did he come from? >> guest: son of the famous benjamin rush, a physician in philadelphia, one of the signers of the declaration of independence, the youngest signer, and benjamin rush had a career as a diplomat, assigned to be the ambassador to paris,
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and then lieu washburn was coined, and rush is interesting because he decided to recognize the new republic of france after the overthrow of louis phillip. when the overthrow was a month at best and had to come by ship because there was no telegraph yet, and he decided on his own to recognize the new government of france not waiting for the government in washington to tell him that's what he should do. it's a very brave decision to say the least, and a very important decision which was enormously welcomed news and applauded not just in paris by the new government, but in washington as well. c-span: how did they communicate in those days?
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i know things changed from the 30s -- >> guest: by letter. c-span: how long did that take? >> guest: a month best. c-span: was there a telegraph near the end of the 1800s? >> guest: yes, the atlantic cable was laid, and they could communicate directly. c-span: what did that change? >> guest: everything, instant information. the frank oppression war, for example, people in cincinnati or here in washington were reading reports from the front two or three days after the report was written, and if there was a delay, it was just getting the message to the nearest telegraph center where it could be put on the atlantic cable and sent here. c-span: did any of these people die in crossing the ocean? >> guest: well, many people did die coming across the ocean. the only one who did of note was
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margaret fuller, a very gifted young woman, writer, important american writer, an important american person, and she died on her return trip. ship went downright off of view of the beaches of long island. c-span: i want to ask you -- i never asked it before -- but you have a first sentence in this book. i'll read it. "they spoke of it then as the dream of a lifetime, and for many, for all the difficulties and set backs encountered, it was to be one the best times ever." how long did you think that sentence through, and when did you write it? >> guest: i rewrote much of the first chapter two or three years after i wrote it the first time because as has been my experience with all my books,
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you know much more by the time you get to the end of the book than you did in the beginning, and the first page or page and a half of any book is crucial. it's your setting the direction, it's your giving the audience the opening theme of the symphony or whatever it is, and i wanted to make it clear in the first pages of the book that these people were not going over to paris because it was the fashionable thing to do or because they were on a diplomatic mission assigned to a particular task or because they were in somebody's employment, and they were being sent by the remmington arms company or whatever. they were going -- and they
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weren't going for power or for money -- they were going out of an ambition to excel in their work. in many ways, this book is about work, and the joy and test of one's purpose in life that work can pose. these medical students who really were put to the test like very few young men i've ever written about, would later refer to it as the happiest time of their life, and yet it was the most difficult time of their life, and i think there's something very important in that
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truth, something important we all should -- the ease and pleasure are not necessarily synonymous, and i didn't find one single example of any of those young people, male or female, who went to study medicine under the most difficult conditions, particularly the language barrier in the beginning. not one of them who quit said this is not for me or i can't take this and went home. there may have been, but i never found one that did. all of them later on would talk about that time in paris. the other thing i love is that henry boutage, one of the doctors who went over to study in paris, had a son years later who was leaving to go abroad and study medicine, and he said to the son remember what you learn
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over there of value to your career and your services as a doctor suspect just what you -- isn't just what you learn in medical school. it's what you'll learn by the culture that's around you in paris. he said i think i've probably done more good for some of my patients by telling them stories about some of my discoveries and how much i learned in various fields of interests beyond medicine than all the pills and tonics i poured down their throats. it's the -- there's this are you treating the disease or are you treating the patient? still a very crucial concern to the education of medical students today, and among physicians today, this
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realization that must be essential to the outlook of a doctor that that person your treating is a human being, and you're not just curing to bushing low sis -- to bushing low sis or a trick knee, but a human being, and you have to understand the human condition and having a appreciation for human condition as well as understanding medicine. c-span: by the way, did you read the audio book? >> guest: i read the first chapter because i didn't have time to do the whole book. the schedule i had at that particular juncture when these particular things were done. i read the first chapter. i read the chapter and was pleased to be asked to read the first chairman because that's the chapter that the mission is stated. c-span: who read the rest?
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>> guest: ed herman, who is superb. c-span: this is the last part and there's a quote "ms. cassatt as usual did the talking. her mind galloped along and what abscesses and reenforcements of courage and life and enthusiasm still lay hidden in that body." why did you end with that? >> guest: because that curiosity, that love of the level that sometimes can be reached in art, music, ideas, by some people if they really work at it.
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the quote that i feel sets the emblem for the book is the quote at the beginning from awe -- augustu st. guns. c-span: that's charles -- i read it earlier. >> guest: it's another one of the people who wrote so peeshly who never went to school. c-span: we deal with practical problems with molders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasters, and whatnot else, all while trying to soar into the blue." >> guest: yes. painters work in the studio, and essentially what they have is canvas and a palette, easel and brushes, sculptors are a
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workshop. there's people with the mold, sacks of plaster. i love the the word "rubbish" because there's junk around. you have all this practical kind of necessities of the trade to deal with. this is true in everybody's work. all the while trying to soar into the blue, to reach that level, that awe, there it is. that happens in painting, music oratory, the gifted, and it happens to the audience when they listen to it, to rise beyond the limitations of mortality and do something that will speak to the human heart of with your fellow men and women,
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but also for generations to come. historians write history. biographers write biography. thank goodness, that's part of it, and by doing that, they are participating in history and biography. painters, sculptors are also writing history. you want to have a feeling about general sherman, go take a look at the statue of sherman on horseback on 59th avenue and look at his face. it's the face of a madman. cher man is the one who says all war is moon shine and hell. he's looked into the face of hell in his march from atlanta to the sea.
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he said it, but st. gardens says it in words, not form, in a way that you never forget once you know to look at that face. he's being led by victory, victory's a beautiful young woman goddess with wings. the model for that young woman was an african-american, hendi, anderson. she's the god december of victory. she's not glowing with the joy of triumph. she looks dazed, she looks in a trance of some kind. again, there's a mystery about it. now that sculpture was created by a guy who was dealing with cement makers, rubbish, trucks coming -- not the trucks we mean, but just wheeling stuff in
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and out, this huge statue working with heavy steal superstructures inside the statue, and iron -- taking it off to the bronze boundary to have it cast and bronzed, shipping it all to america, shipping it up to the studio in new hampshire where it was all guilded and then brought down. he had to deal with all kinds of complicated, difficult practical problems, and employees that numbered 15 at a time all the time trying to soar into the blue. that's the human condition it seems to me. c-span: david mccullough, author of the greater journey, americans in paris. thank you again for your time. we are out of time. >> guest: oh, brian, thank you very much. what a joy. ♪ ♪
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>> for a dvd copy of the program, call 1-877-662-7724. for free transcripts or give comments about this program, visit us at they are also available in podcasts. >> i doubt many people in many people want to be described, but many of them leave the print secretly at the dark of night, have it next to their bedside, but not many call themselves machiavelli. >> sunday night, author miles,
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unger argues theories may have been a response to corruption around him sunday at 8 on c-span's q q&a.
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>> good things come in twos. there's c-span with live coverage of the house. >> coverage of the senate on c-span2. >> live events on >> or the c-span video library. >> weekends on c-span3, explore american history tv. >> iphone follow us on twitter, join us on facebook. >> it's washington your way with c-span. >> funded by cable, and provided as a public service. >> the president of france and prime minister of britain announced recently their governments will be producing statistics on the happiness and well being of their people to be useful in creating public
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policy. we go to the as pen's institute forum on whether happiness should shape policy in the u.s.. panelists include derek bok and from princeton. this is just over an hour. >> thank you all. i'm david gilbert. i'll repeat what i said last track if you wrnt there. one called and said, would it be possible to convince you to come to aspen with the smartest people you know and sit in the sun and listen to them work hard while you didn't, and the joy of being with friends is only surpassed by watching other people work hard while you don't. it's my pleasure to moderate the sessions, and in particular moving from this morning's session on what human beings as vugs might do to increase their own personal happiness to the big question of what governments
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and policymakers do to increase the happiness of citizens. in last decades, this discussion has moved among economists, psychologists, and policymakers from happiness, what does that have to do with public policy? to what else could public policy be about? there's a range of opinions between. we all agree, i think, that public policies are not meant to promote misery. they are meant to promote something like the opposite. good policies are those which do, and bad policies are those which don't. the questions arise and i hope to discuss today is what we're learning about happiness from science has any place in shaping public policies? can it? should it? that's what these two gentlemen help us think about today. he's with the public and
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international affairs at princeton university. i suspect you don't have a card. his research focuses on psychology and behavior economics, and recently his work on decision making put to good use in understanding poverty, how to apply science to poverty in general, but the problem in particular. he's the codirector of ideas 42, which if i understand correctly, is sort of a think tank using science to solve real world problems such as how poor people get access to financial institutions, how people should choose health care coverage, how to improve educational opportunities, and low income housing, ect.. a great pleasure to not have to talk after him. derek bok is a research professor at harvard university. before that, he also did a few
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things at harvard university, for example, he taught in law school, then dean of the law school, and then for 20 years, he was our president. despite all his great service to harvard, we have refused to give the guy a break, so he continues to come back and teach courses and comes back is occasionally is president. [laughter] in his spare time while he's not busy being our president and leading other institutions, he's written about ten books on the state of higher education including most recently underachieving colleges, how much students learn, and why she should be learning more. the most recent book to my great delight is called "the politics of happiness -- what government can learn from the research of well being." without taking more time, i'll turn the floor to eldar shafir.
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we'll have a discussion, and then bring you. >> okay, it's a pleasure. i'm used to working with power j points and pictures. that's not the norm here, but bob will help me work through this, so my plan is i'm going to assume without discussing the research for now, that policy outcomes whether it concerns access to emergency medical care, aid to the poor, a lot of other areas can improve well being if done well, and i'm going to try to convince you that more behavior insights when we do policy makes better policies and therefore increases well being. that's the agenda. i want to start with psychology 101. i want to talk about policy implications, and then i'll give a few minutes about the recent work we've been doing particularly with my colleague and friend and our post students on psychology in the context of poverty in particular and how
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that might inform policy in ways we think are important. i see this agenda, this discussion in general involving two conflicting views of the human agent. the view that many of us have come to know and love from policies, schools, and economics and other areas is some form of the rational agent model, even the mild version. they are well-informed, have stable and well-known preferences, control, calculating, and if you give them a rich market, they proceed to do fairly well maximizing preferences and doing the best they can with their tastes. to large extent, we have to step away and let them do whey that need to do. that's one view on this continuum. the other side is the view from behavior and political experimental research that discovered that, you know, our preferences are not stable, judgments are mediocre, distracted, and implications are
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different. it is that people are not always good at maximizing the only things that they want themselves. they might not always know what's best for them, and in general, we can really benefit from attention and some help. obviously, creeping initial paternalisms arise and we can discuss that later. the point today is to convince you both views have merits, but the first view is the one that guides policymaking. that's what we teach in the economics departments, and the second view ought to inform policymaking more than it typically does to increase well being substantially, and that's what i'll try to convince you. i'll start psychology 101. this discussion has entered popular culture. you have seen versions of it, but i'll give you mine. these are european psychologists coming to the u.s. sometime around or after the second world war obsessed with understanding what made the german mind what
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it was, and they ran remarkable studies to preempt findings, and there's nothing german about the mind, just part of our of our minds. if you look, he's stunned. he planned to find the opposite, the independent american not doing the german thing. he's finding the reverse. he's stunned. he recruits middle-aged men in new haven to come to the psychology department in yale. they are randomly assigned to teachers and students, but all of them will be students. they sit down, actor, working for the speerpter, a test to electrodes, and the teacher in the black suit administers some study, i teach you house banana, when i say house, you say banana.
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if you right, we move on, if wrong, you get a shock. if lever is down, then next question is higher. every time you make a harder shock. it get stronger as we go. this is very careful so between 70-100 volts, there's grants. at 150 volts, the student screams get me out of here. i have heart trouble. 330, if you choose to go that far, you say house, nothing comes back, there's silence. if you choose to go up to the game up to 450 and there's just silence. why would anybody do this? there's a distinguished gentleman in the picture, working for yale university, and he insists this needs to go on, it requires you proceed, put pressure to be a good subject and keep going.
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that's the study. there's a beautiful idea -- he asked people to predict what will people do in the study? he gave them the descriptions i gave you with much more detail all at once, and after described it, what will people do? everybody predicted disobedience. it's 135 volts when the grunts get louder people refuse to go on. nobody predicts anybody goes beyond 300 other than the psychiatrists because 1 in 1,000 would go to 450 and they are sociopaths. we can spend the rest of the time on this study. just a couple of my points. first of all notice, this is a genuine discovery. we had the data. the experts did not know this 50 years ago, and along with the fact it's a general study about human behavior, we just know how
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to incorporate the knowledge into the view of who we are. most of us in this room, even if we have no choice but to believe the findings suspect we are the ones who refuse, and most of us are wrong about that. it's hard to understand it. obviously if you take psychology, you say these are horrible people. it's hard to do. no matter how much we try, i just bought you one picture, these are folks on a daybreak from working the gas chambers in germany. it doesn't compute. we can't get the ideas of the context, regular nice people who did things that are unparallel. it doesn't have to be so powerful. the context doesn't have to be so strong. he's a benign one. this table basically shows the percentage of drivers in different european countries who are willing organ donors. which percentage are willing to donate?
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the blue countries average 94%, yellow countries average 14%. what's the difference? you have austria on one side, germany on the other, france, belgium, the blueys are opt out countries unless you choose to opt out you're a donor. the others are opt in, and unless you choose to opt in, you're not a donor. the default changes. most of the countries have to sign your license, not a big deal. again what we see here is 94% of the blue countries, people on the left, right, religious, not religious, young, and old, and men and women and that doesn't seem to matter if there's a context that makes it much easier by defaults to be an organ donor, and that matters little opposed to the yellow countries. that puts a real responsibility on the policymaker because we see with a slight switch of what otherwise seems irrelevant, a
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policymaker can turn a country into a country of drivers where everybody's a donor or where everybody's not with no cost and no work. this is a beautiful quote. it's 100 years old. john morris clark, president of the american economic association. economist, doesn't matter who, doesn't ignore psychology. if they borrows his conception of the man from the psychologist, his constructive work may have some chance of remaining purely economic 234 in nature. if he dud not, he's forced to make his own, and it will be bad psychology." you have have intuitive psychology, but it's bad policy. a few quick examples of bad psychology. hea law held in the 15 states of the union until a few years
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ago. they leapted some of them having to give up to the law. the law said is if you with welfare recipient and move from state a to state b and state b pays higher welfare payments for the first 12 months, you are entitled to only state a. what's the idea? the idea, and we train policymakers to think this way, people try to maximize. a mother of two surfs the web, where they pay the most, hops in the suv to get paid more. we have to stop that. you discover the lower to higher paying states equals mobility. why do people move? a apartment, a job, somebody to help them, but what this did is -- these are 1993 dollars, if you're a mother of two struggling in mississippi, found something good in california,
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for the first 12 months which is instead of giving you $565, it gives you $120 guaranteeing demise. people, in fact, moved for other reasons and don't know about the payments, and you will have destroyed them. a friend did this in canadian hospitals. there was a problem. the homeless come to emergency rooms a lot. it fills emergency rooms, costly, and it's a problem. what do we do? the assumption is they come there because it's a warm place for a coup of coffee. another possibility is they don't feel well, and they need help. what they did is randomly assign people into compassion care or traditional car. either you got the care you always got or you get a compassionate form of care and someone taking care of you.
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these people returned to the hospital the next time was down by a third when you treated them well opposed to badly. emergency rooms are not just for a cup of coffee. they come because they don't feel well. if you make them feel like they are taken care of, they are less likely to come. if you ignore them, they come more often. it's contrary to the tuition that guides policymaking in emergency rooms. okay. couple minutes on poverty. there's a lot of stories that talk about poverty. there's a psychology about poverty that's unique relating to the difficulties of budgeting your life, basically it's not about having money, but creates special psychology that is unique. i'll give you a simple example. when we conduct our lives, go and buy books, cds, dinners, and breakfast, we don't ask what do i not buy instead? we agent like we have an infinite supply of money.
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if you are poor, you ask yourself every time you buy everything above a muffin. doing tradeoff thinking all the time not only diminishing enjoyment, but it requires attention, it's a very difficult life. we have a lot of work on this that we're preparing for a book, but let me give two facts. one, two facts about being poor -- one, you don't have enough money, so there's tradeoffs, budgeting decisions that are demanding. two, it's an unhappy identity. it's just not fun. we here, there's something about this place that hinges our identity. you feel fortunate. you talk to distinct people, world is open to new ideas, give courage and hope. it's remarkable. being poor is exactly not that 6789 it's the feeling it's hard, you can't make it, you struggle and fail. there's a threat to your io dentty -- identity that impactful.
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we go to a mall in new jersey and asked them to participate in a study. they sit down at the computer. we give them scenarios about budgeting difficulty, and let's call them difficult and easy. come are difficult, some are easy. others are easy, the car breaks down, it's $150 to fix, much easier. while you're thinking how are you going to take care of this financial problem, which then tells us at the end to keep you busy and entertained, there's games to play. they are well-known experimental manipulations from cognitive psychology. the first is about control having to do with basically congruent responses to tasks when you see they are hard you respond to the left. it's confusing, distracting, a test of the divided atapings. the may trieses are iqs. it's supposed to predict intelligence.
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it's a driving and intelligence test. we give you the financial problems to think about, while you think about them, here's the tests. we give people the same problems a 1500 and 150, not just about money, but math problems, shepards and goats. it's not math phobia, but budgeting concerns. let's divide the respondents by self-purported household income by rich and poor. those above the median whether you give them a difficult problem or easy problem whether it's mat mat call, financial or not, has no difference. they perform on the intelligence and driving tests the same way. if you look at the below median people, the non-budget problems look just fine. in the budget area problems and the problem is easy, not many happens. all the work happens when you give a poor person a difficult
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budget problem. notice the performance goes down significantly. you give a low income first person a budget concern, and they drive less well and they're more stupid, do less well on an iq test, and that suggestings when i go through life every day thinking about what do i do with my kids' trip? do i send them or buy lunch instead or a uniform? that makes me a less driver, less attentive person, and i do less well on intelligence tests. just to comment, the result is the conflict of rich and poor. we do the controls, but the rich differ from poors in different ways. 20 make it more pretty, there's a case to do this within subject. the same person went to india, sugar cane farmers, harvest once a year. because they fail to smooth, they are rich after the harvest and poor before. go to the same person four months apart and give them these tests, and they do -- they are more stupid before the harvest
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than after. they perform less well and do worse. this suggests from a policy perspective if this is serious, life from the poor are complicated in ways we can adjust, control for, do automatic payments, smoothing of income, guaranteed incomes, support. a lot of things we can do to make the budget concerns and difficulties of the poor to alleviate them to some extent. if you treat people, train people to think costs and benefits. what happens then is we do things differently. one example. these are food stamp applications, second harvest did a collection of applications from all states. this is one of my favorites. this is a person, a mother of two, leaving her kids with a sitter, applies for food stamps. it's 36 pages long. here's one paragraph. if you are a noncitizen applying and you are not lpr, an alien with a senior high school id
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i-688 or an alien of the u.s., do not fill in the shaded box for birthplace. what happened? there's 36 pages of this, and then if you are doing this, you are under purge ri, and then tell me when somebody said this, please prepare to spend several hours, and you will not be seen if you are six minutes late. you give them and treat them as a ph.d., a criminal, and a baby all within one application, and take up the benefits program is low. it's because if you think costs and benefits, this person realizes they want food stamps, but how much is the application worth in dollars? if i make $12 an hour, another $12 what's the problem? you don't do cost and benefits, you create an obstacle that distorts and ruins people's chances to apply for benefits otherwise it would have done had
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you just been more insightful. the poor identity, the beautiful work particularly on african-american kids is the colleagues, people who walk into an environment with threats, stereotype threat, threatened about who who they are and how they perform, but if you confirm them, they do substantially better. few identities are worse than being poor. you know, some places in the world it's bad to be jewish, black, gypsy. everywhere we looked, the worse you can be in the multidimensional space, bottom left is poor and homeless. they are untrustworthy, uncapable, unclean. it's a disaster. they are aware of it, and they perform accordingly. let's confirm them. soup kitchens, people come for a meal, we have a room where they
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walk in privately into a room, and they speak for 30 seconds into a tape. the control condition they described the meal they had and in the e peermtal condition they describe something that makes them feel capable and proud, something recently they experienced making them feel good. on the way out, a make available packages of two kinds of benefits which which they are eligible or benefits that are low. we observe how many take them. i have no illusion of taking the package and applying there's a big distance. if you look how many avail themselves saying i'll try, it's 16% to 46%. three times more likely to take the package if you confirm them. one extension of this is you recognize this -- same study, con firm the -- affirm the people in the soup kitchen and give them driving and intelligence tests. after 30 seconds of
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affirmation. once they feel better about themselves are more intelligent and drive better. there's an enormous impact quickly on just making them feel more capable than they did. rather than being in a soup kitchen for a few minutes, impacts how you behave. to conclude how we build markets, laws, policies, regulations depends e enormously and sometimes implicitly on assumptions we make on how people choose, based on what they can and cannot do. there's a number of examples. if you make assumptions slightly wrong, intuitively compelling, but wrong, you miss opportunities to create policies 245 improve well being more than we have been able to do so far. thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> well, sir, we'll turn to you. >> good, thank you. >> thank you. >> well, within the last year,
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two events took place which were quite significant for that small dedicated world of happiness researchers. nicklaus, the president of france, and david cameron, the prime minister of england both announced that from now on, the government was going to produce regular statistics on the happiness and well being of their people. this was a new step, and it obviously wasn't just to publish more extensive statistics, but there was some implication that these statistics would be useful in making policy, and so you have prime minister cameron stating memorably it's time we spent less time putting money in people's pockets, and more time puts joy in their hearts, so
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with those two actions, the possibility of using happiness research to guide or influence public policy was transformed from a kind of gleam in the eye of a few happiness researchers into something quite possibly relevant to our own world here in the united states and in other advanced countries. i thought i'd talk a little today about what if we did that? way if we looked at happiness research? is this a good thing for us to do? is it really feasible? what difference would it make a public policy, and on the whole, would it end up being a good thing? now, the case for taking happiness of people into account in public policy, i think in principle at least is overwhelming. number one, opinion polls
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suggest that happiness is the most important goal that people treasure above all others, above wealth, above fame, above powerment they want to be happy. certainly, if happiness was the thing people want most, that ought to count very heavily in a democracy, but better yet, we also have a good deal of evidence to show that people who feel that they are happy, more happy than normal or more than average, that good things happen to them. they live longer, they are less prone to depression, they abuse capitol and drug -- alcohol and drugs less, they tend to earn more money, and there are some cause sal relationship. it's not that they earn more money apparently in part because they are happier, and third, and i think somewhat surprising to
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me, but i think still another reason for taking account of happiness in principle is that the evidence we have suggests that happy people are more likely than less happy people to do good things for society. they are more likely to have stable marriages, more likely to be rated as good employees by their employer, they are more active in civic affairs. they send to do more for other people to be more helping individuals than those who are not so happy. if you put all of those things together, you do the thing that people are most interested in, do something that's good for the people, themselves, you do something that's good for the rest of society, that's a very potent case for taking happiness into account. then you begin to get into practice call questions. for one thing, is the kind of
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evidence that we have about what makes people happy really reliable enough so that you want to use it in making real world decisions that affect people's lives? here, this is a question anticipated by happiness researchers, and i'm not one myself, so i can speak somewhat objectively about it, but they've gone to considerable efforts to try to see whether the reports that people give in response to surveys about how happy are you? how satisfied you are with your lives, those responses seem to correlate reasonablebly well with things that are happening in the real world. for example, they correlate reasonablebly well with what a their spouses, their best friends, their chirp think about the happiness of an individual, 10 you get confirmation from people in the good position to
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observe. .. >> i would only say that researchers seem to be on whole, also helps establish the fact that what people think about their own happiness has some
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reliability beyond just an unsubstantiated personal opinion. so all that is somewhat encouraging. does it mean that happiness research is certainly true? no. but that's not the relevant question. the relevant question is whether the findings of happiness researchers stack up reasonably well with the other kinds of evidence that policymakers customarily use in making decisions in washington and in your state capitals. and here i think i would say with some confidence that it does, that i think if you, for example, politicians today rely very heavily on opinion polls and focus groups about what people think will make them happier in the future in terms of public policy. didn't get to my right wrote a
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whole book about an numerous fallacies in people's thinking about what their predictions about what will or will not make them happy or unhappy. so i would certainly feel that happiness research is going to buy it -- provide a more reliable indication of what the effects will be than just asking people what they think, what kinds of policies will make them happier. and also, if you look at other things that the government relies on for making policy, is that evidence more reliable than happiness research? i think if you look at things like poverty statistics, unemployment statistics, and you look at the gross domestic product as the leading indication of the well being of the public, all of those measures are filled with imperfections. so when i compare happiness
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research to the kinds of things that policymakers are using everyday, i think happiness research is probably well over the bar. now, does that mean if happiness research is good enough to be relied on for looked to by policymakers, does that mean that we're going to be able to approximate that wonderful world that was described by, a still living possible of happiness in government, jeremy, a great political philosopher in england in the 18th century, who developed the principle in making legislation that government should simply try to maximize happiness, and should be done in a very scientific way when a proposal is made for you happiness measure, what you should do is to measure the amount of happiness will be added by the legislation, subtract any unhappiness that will result from the legislation, and if there's a
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significant positive balance of trade in favor of happiness, you passed the legislation. we'll happiness research allow us to do that? almost certainly not. and for that i give a quick illustration, to illustrate the point. what would transixteen for you helping president obama to decide whether to get out of afghanistan and how quickly? well, you could probably tote up the effect of happiness you got out in the wake of the effect it would have on reducing casualties, lowering expenses could be used for other things, lowering the numbers of people who are wounded or suffered from various kinds of post-traumatic stress, all that could be done. but that clearly wouldn't be enough to make you render a sound decision. you would want to know what's going to happen in the long run.
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is al qaeda going to come back? is the taliban going to take over? what are the implications for pakistan, which sits on a massive nuclear weapons? well, those require predictions that no happiness researcher could possibly make, or anyone else. so one of the problems with using happiness research and why it's not a complete guide to policy is that many policy measures involve future consequences, and their effects on happiness. and you can't predict what those consequences will be. another reason is, immediately somebody and think about getting out of afghanistan would say, well, what about the afghans, what affect is this going to have on them? then you get into an interesting question. does the happiness of afghans count as much? does the happiness of americans when people sit in washington decide on policy measures. well, that again is not something that happiness
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research and resolve. that's really a matter of bellevue. and in some other people say look, it's really wrong to get out of afghanistan and leave them in the lurch. after all, we are partly responsible for the situation that they are not win. that's a moral question. and again no amount of happiness research is going to tell you what is moral and what isn't. so it's pretty clear that happiness research may help in some measure, but it's not going to give you that magical world of jeremy bentham and provide a check list of what he called a cactus to resolve all policy questions. the second thing that comes to mind is there are a lot of things that affect happiness very strongly, that government simply doesn't know how to affect. for example, it's pretty clear to me at least that probably the most important factor affecting
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people's happiness, at least in a country like the united states, really has to do with the quality of their personal relationships, their marriage, their children, their friends, the groups that they are associated with, and that's something government does not know. much about. to look at, for example, one interesting case that came up recently was a survey to try to find out in canada what are the happiest provinces. so they did and elaborate study and the results came out in a rather surprising way. they found that the most kind of progressive populist states li like, like british columbia, ontario, were not the happiest states. that among the happiest states where some of the maritime provinces, which are really the poorest, often considered the most backward provinces in
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canada. fortunately they did a study in such a way that you could break down what accounted for that surprising result. and what they found was that the poorest, the states that were more prosperous, that helped, they give them a boost over all, but the boost that average incomes gave these provinces, like british columbia, was much more than offset by answers to other questions, of which perhaps the most dramatic, the one that favors the maritime provinces the most was do you have more than two people that you can rely on if you're in trouble? and on those questions like those, maritime provinces scored far higher. so much so that that lifted their average level of overall happiness above that of the richer, more prosperous, more famous provinces, british colombia and ontario.
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and i think, get a, unfortunately at least at the present time we don't know much about public policy measures that can really affect human relation. as my former colleague, the late great daniel patrick moynihan said, and he studied families all his life. if you think the government knows how to make stronger, more cohesive families, you know more more about government than i do. and pat moynihan new great deal about government as was a great deal about families. there's one area we can learn to do a few things but certainly we do not know very much about how to improve human relations. and there are others. one thing that clay has an effect on happiness, take wars. inc. of, say, the vietnam war and try to tote up how much unhappiness that caused to us, to the in these, and how little
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positive result we got out of it, you realize a war is a significant contribute factor to overall happiness. and yet we don't seem to be able to have a very good batting average on which wars to get into and which ones do not become acquainted into the thick of iraq and afghanistan but you can ask yourselves, are we likely to get enough positive results on people's well being to offset the obvious unhappiness caused by all the death and destruction and the expenditure of money and the displacement the people in other countries, that word of that kind bring about. even unemployment, something we do know a fair amount, and we've had some success in reducing unemployment. unemployment is one of those relatively new things that can happen to you in life that doesn't produce only momentary unhappiness.
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it produces in many people as long-term unhappiness. so it's something you really would like to hold to a bare minimum. and yet as a current crisis that we're going through in terms of unemployment points out, we still have a lot to learn about what public policy can do to avoid this kind of catastrophe in people's lives. that is not just a matter of losing her job and losing money. is much more importantly a blow to her self-esteem for which often do not recover, even if you find another equally well-paying job. now, does that mean with all these limitations that public policy has nothing to gain from looking at happiness? well, that would clearly be an extreme. and clearly untrue. if you look at the happiest countries in the world, and compared them to the unhappiest, the happiest countries like norway and denmark and iceland and switzerland, holland.
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compare them with the least happy countries in the world, zimbabwe, haiti, somalia. it's pretty clear, and the countries that are quite happy are quite successful with government. the countries that are at the bottom of the happiness scale all have very dysfunctional governments. so clearly government must make a substantial difference. and it is very, very clearly does. so, if you then ask why is it that the united states wasn't listed among the few happiest nations, actually we do quite well. where it probably in the top 20 countries. but we're not at the top. we're usually 12, 15, 17, something like that. so it's fair to ask what is it about america that keeps us the most prosperous dynamic economy
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in the world from the number one in happiness? and if you compares to these countries that i mentioned, i think some pretty clear answers stand out. one is that these are countries in which there's a much greater trust in government, and according to the surveys of people who look very closely at these things like world bank, their governments are rated as more effective than ours. that we know from research makes surprise a big difference. the quality of government, your faith in government and your sense is an effective government makes a big difference to people's happiness. these countries don't get in wars as much as we do so war comes back into the equation. they are also provided considerably better security against the great hazards of
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life, you know, falling ill about any health care or running out of money in your old age, things like that. these countries very different ways, not always standard welfare state methods. nonetheless, provide a very high measured a security of relief from the major worries in life. and then they have less mobile populations, stable community relations probably flourish more in these countries than they do, than they do in the united states. where we have big cities, people come and go, and unusual rates. and there's for that that reason a strain on stable personal relations, not so true in these are the countries. so if you look at that you get some sense of what in government might do that would affect happiness. one thing he would start with is
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really trying to make government function better in this country. you would try, those of you who heard the real excellent address last night by my colleague, larry lessig, which is what on the effects of campaign finance in this country, and a watch but since the people have in america about the legislation is not passed with their welfare primary in mind, but policies really determined by who has money to contribute. and that clearly contributes to a low level of trust in government. and that affects the happiness of the country. so there's a whole lot of things to campaign. independent ethics commission, redistricting done more objectively, many getting rid of your marks, all of those things would tend to make a difference. and then simply had a more effective government.
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our government is not rated for potential that affected. having once sat on a national commission for improving government, a whole series of things we can do to make the civil service in this country a better and more effective. so that would clearly be a place to start. ways of trying to reduce the insecurity that comes from the white unemployed are treating, the effect where 40 many people are uninsured for health, the fact that people run a greater risk in this country of running out of money into old age, either due to the need for long-term care or a set to run through their savings, or they don't have an adequate pension. those could be reduced and that would be helpful if you look
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more on happiness research, that's the kind of think you would also look to. and, finally, one thing that happiness does come happiness research does do that is quite suggestive for policymakers, yet it identifies certain kinds of things that produce lasting unhappiness, that seemed to fly under the radar screen otherwise. they don't get the attention, the resources, the emphasis in medical school that you would expect, given the importance they have to individuals who suffer from it. one is depression. clinical depression. a second is chronic pain. a third of all things is, sounds kind of very trivial, sleep disorder. actually the nobel prize winner looked at the things that really determine how happy you are the next day, and found that the most significant determinant of how happy or at the next day is how good nights sleep you have.
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and millions of people in the united states suffer from sleep disorders of one kind or another. and yet very little money goes for research on this, very little attention paid to it in medical schools. similarly and depression. millions of people suffer from clinical depression in the united states, and yet when i talk to the expert that we have at harvard on depression and its treatment, they gave me the following rule of thumb. with every six people suffer from a clinical depression in the united states, one is treated correctly, to our treated incorrectly, and three are not treated at all. well, we would be asking too much in government to have a perfect record in doing the best that medical care can do for every single depressed person in the united states, but surely public policy to do something to improve upon those versus physics where only one in six is
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given reasonable treatment. so i think in the end, i think happiness research will not solve everything. it's not completely reliable. but it could, i think in significant ways, helped to clarify the priorities and the objectives that public policy might be expected to take, but would have a significant and lasting affect on average happiness, and that would be some considerable gain. i would likely to do that in the next few years? i think very unlikely, but happiness research will be actively use to that extent. it's a new concept. americans are not familiar with it. a democracy, that's a series handicap, but the policymakers are not used to this kind of research. the research itself is still in an early stage but there's a lot of things we don't know. there's a lot of findings that
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haven't been replicated and verified. there are a number of important issues, like what is the importance of increasing people's incomes on happiness. the evidence is still in some conflict on the. so there's a lot we need to do to improve upon the quality of the research we have. but from what we do know, i think it is fair to say that as time goes on the research gets better, we discuss it more, we read more about our relatives standing and averaged standing with other countries come is going to be more and more plausible thing to do. so i would guess that you will see in the longer-term more use of happiness research and policymaking. is that going to make the country better? well, that depends on predictions about how well the government will perform, the use of this evidence. my crystal ball on that subject is no better than yours. so without i will subside, and
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thank you very much. [applause] >> it's hard when you're supposed to discuss with two people and they seem to agree with each other, and with you. it doesn't leave a lot of discussion. i'm going to give you the argument i would make if i were, maybe if i were -- what i'm hearing, i think is broad consensus. today it's a reasonable for policymakers to be concerned about human happiness your be, why would we not use data if they are there to help us shape policies to so the more effectively shape at this. and psychologists say this to each other all the time and then we say and our state economist done because they think politics should just be promoting economic well being. isn't that short sighted? but the defense of that, of course, is that everybody gets come if you make everybody rich, then i'll get to decide for themselves whether happiness lies, if they want to go to sleep clinic and sleep better,
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they can spend the money doing that. if they would rather be chocolate they can spend their money doing that. so why is that argument wrong, that we should be an happiness producing business? we should be in the business as policymakers of producing the means by which people can pursue happiness themselves? is our argument wrong? >> yes. [laughter] >> good. because i don't believe it either. but why is it wrong? >> well, i think comes back to the basic question what ought to be the real objective of public policy? should it be to help people become happier? for should it be to maximize their freedom to make choices, and then it's up to them? and even though we know that they often make imperfect choices, that do not turn out to make them happy, nonetheless it's their choice and that's a
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we should be doing with government. well, i guess i don't really believe that. i believe that happiness is a more important goal for people than just giving them, people the right to choose. i don't mean giving them the right to choose is important that, in fact, the research does show that personal freedom is significant contributor to happiness. but it also seems to show in the end people would rather be happy than just have more money, and for that reason and because i do think we are trying to promote the greatest happiness that we can, i think we can stake is the research it sounds to me like we'll get further two article that light than just giving people a lot more money. >> yeah, i agree. i think first of all giving people money is not an easy
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thing to do. though so much money we can get and so those who don't have enough, i think ever has or will of response the. i think there is an ethical -- one where people know what's good for them but whether easily misled. the ethical aquifer government is much more powerful. i used to get an ulcer for years, the fact that citibank was allowed to send you your credit card bill with june 21 as a default day, get a certified only if some people, that's outrageous. since obama is no longer legal but that's the kind of things that government needs to do, just improve fundamental well being. then comes the issue of what happened if he did have enough money. some choices people just don't make. so when we saw the organ donation decision, you know, most of my colleagues, did not how much to save for retirement.
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we have a lot of data. people come, take a job and a default whatever the employer did, and most of them never sit down and make the decision of how to allocate the funds into retirement, which is an important one. it just never is a decision they make. it then comes category in pursuit which we may, a lot of evidence, we do it badly. and so, you know, going back to gilbert, there's no date on we spent a lot of money on bigger houses, faster and better cars, which is fun for exactly 10 minutes and we forget we have them. we spend the money on chocolates and flowers, we are probably happier and we just don't know that. so having someone arrange life that is conducive to that is probably very helpful. >> you know, whenever you talk about your work or ibd, my reaction is my god, this is a simple and it could have such big in sync with fx. fx. was standing in way of us doing
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any of this? i think this is a question for both of you. we have researched not perfect, get those whether to withdraw from afghanistan. but it's better than nothing. it does give us information. what standing in a way of using it in public policy? >> this came up in the former session about doing better on making good thoughts. i think life stands in the way. life complicated to our attention is very limited. we don't have much of an attention span. and even when you know it's good exercise to diet and closure eyes and think about children and change the structure of your brain, we have too many things to do. we know if you have a trainer at the gym that waits for you, you go to the gym more often. and we asked the question is why i was wondering whether government can introduce -- what was it called? compassion? to come to the office in the morning, his compassion gym. people would like it into a but not if you don't arrange it for them to go to naturally because
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you don't have enough attention span to start a thing and do it. >> i'm asking what stamey between the world of policymakers and the work of researchers like you, that they're not just dying to hear everything you're discovering and put it instantly to good use? >> because policymakers don't go to work every morning saying how can i make americans more happy. they go to work and say what you might first think, and to use the phrase that one congress, the veteran congressman gave to a young congressman was quoted last by larry lessig, the advice was leaned to the green. in other words, pay attention to what is going to do when you come up for reelection and to have to raise money. now, neither of those, you know, just looking at what people say they want, or what is going to
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offend your donors the least is necessary going to come up with the points that you say are self evident to all a good researchers. on the other hand, this research is still new and it may be that people since what they need, might be educated more as this research becomes better known and more widely discussed. >> i think related to that is research is not part of the government does easily. if you take us seriously, a lot of policy decisions require either testing, data collection. we don't know how people will respond to this idea. will it help them, will not? government is not structured to do quick power studies. they are not equipped that way. there's a joke, if you choose between approximately or precisely wrong, and very often what the governor wants to answer the call and economies, and the economist say will take it a half a%. they call you and say thank you very much.
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what do you think of it depends? we can do the research but it's not structured that way. >> i know we're running very short on time and i want to give others a chance to ask questions of our speakers. so if you have some, there is microphones on both sides of the room. don't jostle each other trying to get to the microphone. be orderly. give everyone a chance. you're coming to ask a question. just a written gene the microphone -- just arranging the microphone. .net. >> i think so, otherwise no one can hear you at us. >> hi. my name is jimmy. and it's not well thought out but it's sort of a combination of thoughts that are in my head from their lessig's conversation last night. and also the happiness thing that we just came from before.
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so, one of the things leading was saying was that he felt that the reason why the policymakers who really are paying attention to the top 5% of the people are getting the most money to fund policy, and that politicians are spending 30-60% of the time really on keeping these 5% happy, and so then you have the other 95%, and also the lower class and the middle class who, when you think about how they're going to spend their hard earned dollars, they're not really thinking in terms of all, let me give that $35 i have, not to a lazy but instead let me give it to a local campaign because there's no trust in government. so thin going to the happiness, that which is came from, i think
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it was somebody said over there that in order to affect that change, you have to first be able to perceive it and believe in a benefit. .. >> one thing that comes to mind is along with lack of intuition
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with what works best for us comes a lack of introspective actors with respect to not doing things well. people are not aware of the mistakes they make and how to best use $30. this is how research does it wrong, but every day life, people rarely notice this was a $30 badly misused. in some sense it's hard to get the demand unless people are aware of it, and, you know, i think people's lives are too complicated. they arrange it so the kids survive in school and marriage and the house survives, and they don't do that. it's hard to notice on daily basis the mistakes we make that could have been doing better. that makes it very difficult. >> great. sir? >> in the 30 seconds we have left, i b wonder if you can comment, is there a problem with
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the national narrative? >> a little louder. >> do we have a problem with the national narrative. we talk about life to right, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not happiness, and strikes me the idea of government being responsible for creating happiness is just very far away from the sort of core way we talk. >> i think if you ask most lawmakers is promoting the hopeness -- happiness of your constituents a foreign concept, out of keeping with the american narrative? no, that's one of the things i'd like to do. now, that doesn't mean the policy will always follow that
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because there's a lot of other forces that bear on public policy, but most people i know that sit in policymaking positions say, no, it's not irrelevant what makes people happier, in fact, it's a significant element, but one is until relatively recently, there's a lot we didn't know about what policies actually effect happiness. we do have a system in which considerations apart from the happiness and welfare of the people do enter into a very significant extent and mean certain things that, you know, if you ask why is it that we have by far the most expensive health care system in the world, and yet we're the only advanced country in the world with 40 million people or a large segment of a population who is not covered by health insurance. now, that's not because
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lawmakers came to washington feeling, hey, you know, what my constituents would like is to have large people uncovered and have health outcomes no better than any other countries in the world, and pay 50% more than any other country, and yet that's where we are. partly through ignorance of how to produce the kind of health care system that would work the best. it's a very difficult summit, and partly because there's a lot of very powerful interests trying to achieve other objectives, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying to refine our sense of what really would produce more happiness because i think, you know, that is a factor, and if we could make that clear, we improve the odds what that legislation takes that more into account than it otherwise would, but we shouldn't expect policymakers suddenly to change minds and redraft the laws, and look
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entirely to denny and david gilbert for guidance. no, that wouldn't happen, but it will have, overall, could have, i think an effect in changing the mix somewhat of considerations that ultimately affect the kinds of laws that we have. >> well, the sign of a good discussion is that you're out of time before you're out of discussion, and i'm afraid i'm signaled we are out of time. please join me in thanking eldar shafir and for a good afternoon. [applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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>> the afl-cio and king center held a symposium recently talking about jobs, social justice, and martin luter king jr.'s vision of the american dream. this surround social and economic issues. speakers include former civil rights chairman mary frances berry along with lgbt, immigration youth and labor activists. this is about an hour and 30 minutes. >> so, we're still in the morning part of this wonderful day, and i just wanted to say hello again. i'm elizabeth shuler, secretary treasurer of the afl-cio, and
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welcome to the second panel of this national symposium on jobs and the american dream, and our next panel is focused on justice and the american dream. it will examine the contrasts between dr. king's vision for a just america and our current reality, and before i get started, i wanted to acknowledge we have an important elected official with us today here from los angeles, california. county board of supervisor from the second district, mard ridley thomas who is in front here with us today. [applause] who i think was on his electronic device just now beast he's an avid tweeter and is probably tweeting right now as a matter of fact. thanks for being here today. near a half century later, how close have we cock to realizing the -- how close have we come to realizing the dream?
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have we fulfilled the equality and justice for all citizens? dr. king worked, fought, and gave his life so that all people would be afforded these rights, basic rights. we have to ask ourselves what can we do, we, everyone in this room and who is watching, what can we do to ensure that doctor king's struggle was not in vain? that equality and justice aren't afforded only to the rich and the powerful, but to all people. today, we know that our communities are facing difficult economic, political, and social challenges, and we, as leaders and activists, must continue to heed dr. king's words and i quote, and you can never stop quoting dr. king; right? "if you can't fly, then run. if you can't run, then walk. if you can't walk, then crawl,
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but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." together -- [applause] together, we will keep moving forward. now, this next panel will provide an opportunity for us to discuss the issues and the challenges working people face in our country. from a tax on bargaining rights and education that we hear on the first panel to widespread threats to equal justice, and also here stories -- hear stories about victories and gains, so with that i'm honored to introduce our moderator for the next panel, maria elena salinas. ms. salinas is the emmy award winning news anchor. she also cohe'ses the prime time television news magazine which
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is "here and now." ms. salinas is a former vice president and founding member of the national organization of his panic journalists, a columnists whose work in english and spanish is delivered to more than 55 newspapers. the "new york times" calls ms. salinas the voice of hispanic america. she reaches millions of people daily in the united states and in 18 countries throughout latin america. we are so pleased to have her with us today. welcome, maria elena salinas. [applause] >> muchos gracias.
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your spanish was so good, i'll do this in ease espanol. [laughter] let's leave it at that for now. it really is a pleasure to be here today, and i was very impressed, glad to have the opportunity to come early and see the first panel. it was impressive, and really both of these panels go hand-in-hand, jobs and justice. interesting that there's an organization called jobs with justice. one goes hand-in-hand with the other. as you mentioned, liz, you know, we are here in this panel specifically to discuss whether or not martin luther king's dream has come true, or if we're stuck in the same place, or if we've taken a few steps back. you know, 48 years after the "i have a dream" speech, we're
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going to be examining the contrast between his vision for a just society and the many challenges that we face now in this country. we're witnessing what some have called the great return to the battle -- bad old days, not the good old days. for the working families, the poor, the people of color, women, orla teen knows. this may be the worst times we've seen in a generation. as we know, the unemployment rates a soaring. when someone talked about the unemployment rates for the population of african-americans and his tannics, it's 11.5%. our bargaining rights are under attack in every state. racism and hate crimes are on the rise. again, if i may say, the highest level of hate crimes is against
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hispanics right now, and, of course, we're in the greatest economic crisis since the great depression with communities of color most effected. the safety net for most is vanishing, and these are definitely challenging times. i want to introduce to you the very distinguished panel we have toad to address these issues. first beginning at the right with dr. mary frances berry, dr. berry is professor of american social thought and professor of history at the university of pennsylvania for over 20 years. she's on the commission of civil rights serving as chair from 1993 to 2004 serving as vice president to the american historical society, president of the organization of american historianing. she was assistant secretary for education in the u.s. department of health, education and welfare during the carter administration. i don't know how she has time,
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but she's authored nine books. [laughter] she's superwoman on top of everything else, and, of course, she's a very distinguished activist and thank you for being here. to my left, rea carey e executive counsel of the national and gay lesbian task force and struggles for equal rights. she has worked extensive le in the area of hiv-aids prevention and cofounder of gay men and lesbians opposing violence. thank you for being here. she's a dreaming, a strong national voice for the dream act, an activist, an organizer, led rallies, organized marchs, sit-ins at harry reid's office. i think dr. king would be very proud of her and all the dreamers and struggle that they have at this moment just to be
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recognized and not have to be hiding behind the shadows. she spoke out publicly, and she's with the member of congress and the dream act considered in congress in december of last year. we know it has come up a few times, and it has not been approved, and according to some of the senators that i've spoken to, it does not look like the dream act has much of a future, but we'll get into that further on. kurston cook, she's a coordinating of afl-cio young workers program, currently servedded as field directer and roosevelt institute campus network. his involvement with the roosevelt institute began as a student at the university of michigan when he took a leadership role in running roosevelt's relief, post katrina development project, and as he
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said awhile ago, his family was in new orleans during katrina and fortunately could not come back because of the situation. we'll hear more about that. and mahlon mitchell, president of professional firefighters of wisconsin. he was selected in january of 2011. he is the youngest and first ever african-american president of the wisconsin pffw who are members of the international association of firefighters. mahlon mitchell is one of the leaders and main spokesman for the effort to stop the attacks on workers rights in wisconsin and around the country. we'll have an opportunity to hear from each and every one of you, but let's begin, please, with dr. berry. dr. mary frances berry. i think that there's base questions right now. where are we today? what would dr. king say about society today? >> well, those of you who know
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me know that i always do exactly as i'm told. [laughter] so i will, of course, answer the question and do nothing beyond that and speak only for the number of minutes i'm supposed to speak. [laughter] i have no idea what i will say or how long i will say it, but i'll try. i just came in from hawaii, stopping off in san fransisco and got here at midnight last night, so it's early in the morning for me, but as for where we are today, and i wrote notes to keep me from talking too long, and i'll try. much of the agenda has been enacted of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. we've got basic civil rights laws, ect., but a lot of it hasn't been, and a lot of it was not enacted when martin was assassinated, and a lot of it was not enacted in may of 1979
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when at the white house, we had a big ceremony in the east room congressmen rating the brown decision, and word came randolph had died, and if there was no randolph, in many ways there may not have been a march. labor was at the heart of the march even though the afl-cio was not. it had not been enacted today. we have done a lot of things using coalitions. we've learned that, but we need to do a lot more. what would king say today? people are talking every year what martin would say about this, this, or the other, and we don't know exactly what he would say. we know what he did say, and we know that he would say that jobs and justice are connected, that freedom and justice are connected, that you really can't have one without the other.
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he would understand that, and that the agenda -- the quotes, you know, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. i mean, he understood that, and in everything he wrote including his nobel prize speech talking about the audacity of belief, he talked instead of the audacity of hope. anyway, he, in fact, talked about that, so everyone uses those phrases in every movement that's come along since then. as for why we are where we are today and why it is so hard, first of all, the issues have expanded in terms of what we deal with. they were issues then, but we didn't deal with them, to those that are going to be talked about by the folks who were on this panel, for example, someone asked what about lbgt issues? well, i remember knowing what martin would say that greta
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talked to me on the phone at one time and asked me to come in atlanta to stand with her so she could come a in favor of ending don't ask, don't tell. the men who had been with martin, that's how she put it, didn't want her to do it. she said, mary, if you do it with me, i'll do it. martin believed in justice, so martin would have believed in that. so we know martin believed in justice, so why is it that we can't get done all the things that we need to get done today, and it's so hard as we work? what is that problem? it is that americans, and this is important -- i thought about it all the way on the plane -- americans believe generally in individual freedom. if you ask any american, even if they don't know what's in the great documents of our national life, and many of them don't because they confuse them, they believe in individual freedom, liberty. we believe in liberty freedom. we believe in it, but not
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everybody believes that justice is just as important as liberty. that's what our problem is. we have many people in our political life and many of our fellow citizens and fellow residents who don't believe that justice is the major priority that freedom is, and they don't understand that you can't have one without the other, and that is the dichotomy that creates all of these issues and these problems. we can get an agreement in any political discussion about freedom pretty much before we can get it about justice. people fight over under god in the pledge of allegiance. there's fights about that. some people think it should be in there, others don't, but many of those same people don't believe justice even though they say with liberty and justice for all and say the phrases, but they don't believe them. it's getting people to understand that justice is essential if you're going to have the freedom. if we believe in justice for
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all, then jobs would be a major priority, that everybody could have a job over budget cuts. if we believed in justice, we would think that justice for all mean health care should be a human basic right, and we would have single payer if we really believed in it, and we certainly would not be fighting about obama care. if we believed in justice for all, we would think the hard-fought right for clerkive bargaining should be secure instead of presenting the false argument going around today that we need to get rid of it because it's too hard to bargain. we would understand that the fight and the struggle and why we need to keep it. we would understand better, too, why people who come here seeking a better life ought to be embraced and added to the national productivity instead of rejected, harassed, and abused and believe in the rhetoric of refuge and opportunity even as
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we use it without believing in it. we would focus education in the form on dropout prevention for jobs and parents and drug treatment, and rehab instead of pushouts and more crimes and more prison and prisoners and blames teachers, some who teach in the worst schools and ought to be getting combat pay. fundamentally, the great political and ideological battle to fight then is this one about justice. now, it is hard, it was -- we thought it was impossible, but we won some things, but now we have mainstream opinion that's against us. whenever i talk about this, people tell me, well, don't you know public opinion is a gift to us and pundits say whatever the pundits say, and i say, well, the pundits all have jobs. [laughter] i understand that we're all sen trysts now. we are all to be centrists now
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and argue on the one hand and then on the other hand, but the tide can be turned. i recall how rosa parks loved it when i would say if she had taken a poll before she sat down on the bus, she would have kept standing up, but she didn't take a poll. if john lose took a pole before he walked across the bridge before getting battered again, he would have stayed home. if martin took a pole before accepting the call to be a leader, he could have lived a long happy life with his wife and chirp, but all these have a call for justice. each generation has to make its own dent on the wall of injustice. i'm glad there's so many young people. each generation has to do it, make a didn't, so now is the time for all of us, not just to praise martin as a symbol for all of those who worked and discid and led in the movement and not just to be happy that
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finally there's a memorial on the mall and how far we've come, but to also try to be like martin and take up the call to action, and if you do this in this way, we will some day have liberty and justice for all. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. berry. we'll go to lieutenant mitchell. you're fighting for worker rights in wisconsin. describe to us what your struggle is about, and if there's any way to make parallels with chase going on at the national level. >> well, thank you. first i want to thank the afl-cio for having me, and i'm not going to go into a rally speech. if i get loud, i apologize. i rallied for the last six months. if i hit you, i'm sorry. i use my hands a lot. thank you for having me, president trumka, vice president baker, thank you for having me. because of them as well as the
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iff, my union, i've gone around the country and speaking about wisconsin. now, you thought wince before was just known for cheese and green bay packers, but know there's a fight on our hands. now we're on the map, again, so to speak, but this is not just a union fight. this is a middle class fight, and right now we are under attack. it feels like we are no longer in the united states of america, but the united corporations of america, but members of dr. king, you have a lot of people that talk about the civil rights, but today is special because we talk about worker rights as well as human rights. in 1968 when he was assassinated, he was there for the memphis sanitation workers because of the deplorable conditions they were working in. a couple things stick out in my head when i do my speaking is one -- two actually very simple, but so profound messages. one, i'm a man.
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i am a man -- so simple, but so powerful. the other one is an injury won is an injury at all. we coordinate that with present day, what's happening in the state of wisconsin, what's happening around the nation. collective bargaining, all right, workers rights under attack. now, let me give you a quick timeline of sorts what's happening in wisconsin. i'm sure you've seen on tv, but let me tell you what happened. in january, they said the state is break, there's no money. we're going to have a $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years, a stressful deficit, the state is broke. in january, corporate tax loopholes for the wealthy, but the state is broke. they opened the las vegas loophole, but the state is broke. we have a business where it's open for business is what the governor says, we're open for business. you can bring your company into the state of wisconsin, from illinois, minnesota, iowa, ohio, and you will have two years
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where you do not have to pay taxes on your income, but our state is broke. tax cuts were the top 1% and wealthy of wisconsin, but our state is broke. they told us it was going to cost $7.5 million to clean the capitol after all the protesters, but our state is broke. the non partisan bureau estimated in ten years, there's $2.3 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and loop hopes for corporations, but our state is broke, so i hate to put it simple, but we said, come on now, we're not buying it. now, february comes, february comes. now we have this collective bargaining fight, so he says because our state is broke after we gave corporations tax breaks, because our state is broke, we're going to require that all
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public sector employees pay 5.8% of the pence and 12.6% of the health care premium because the state is broke. 24 is february. not only that, we have to get rid of collective bargaining as well because the state is broke. if you want to have a union every year, you have to recertify, have a standing vote, 51% of the membership has to vote. it doesn't take 51% of the state to be elected governor, just saying, but 51% of the members to have a union. no more can you talk with your employer over hours, wages, and working conditions. the only thing that you can clerkively bargain over is wages and nothing above inflation. now, firefighters and police officers are exempt from this entire legislation, so my union, the police officers yiewn i don't know, -- union, we are not affected at all. woe still retain our collective bargaining rights.
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now, an injury to one is an injury to all. we could sit by, did nothing, we're taken care of, but we didn't do that. when the administration came to us and say, hey, firefighters, police police officers, you're by yourself. we didn't only say no, but hell know. i'm sorry for cursing, but revolution -- [applause] i'm sorry to curse, but a revolution's not always pg. [laughter] i asked the question, and i asked is to the country, at what time do firefighters, police officers, snowplowers, janitors, teachers become the problem? let's talk about the real problem. deregulation of banking, wall street, but that's a whole other panel. at what time do we call the rich and wealth, which is find to be wealthy, but now we call them job creators? back in the day, back in the 19th century before i was born, of course, they called them robber barrens.
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now we call them job creators. this is not just the union fight. again, this is a fight on the middle class, an attack or not middle class. we are under attack. shared sacrifice. talk about shared sacrifice, and i'll answer the question here briefly. [laughter] they talk about shared sacrifice in the state. i say, okay. we sacrifice and they share the wealth. $800 million from the state is taken from education, voter id, voter registration, i call it voter repression. $65 million over two years will be taken from single family homes struggling from day-to-day and barely making it. ..
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>> the unions, that's our job. we protect. we protect the american people. but the american dream as we know it is dying off. but the american dream is about opportunity. it's the opportunity to live with the benefit from your hard work so that you can provide that opportunity to your families. it is it as my job and our job to protect what people have died for, died for us to be able to sit here, for me to be able to sit in front of you and give this speech. and it is then, and it's only then when we all have this opportunity that i can say that i am a man or, now, that i am a
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woman. so i have nothing but the utter most respect for dr. king, and i'm going to continue to fight, and i know our state of wisconsin is going to continue to fight as well. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> i think i answered your question. >> you did. you answered the question. [laughter] the next one gets to be a yes or no answer. >> okay. [laughter] >> let's move on to ray. as we know, our country's more divided and polarized than we have seen in many, many, many years. there seems to be more intolerance in the country. hate speech, hate crimes, violence. some of it is focused on the lgbt community. however, do you think there is now more tolerance toward the gay and lesbian community than there was a decade ago, and what types of discrimination or attacks has this community suffered? >> i'll give you my favorite
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short answer. it depends. [laughter] but i also do want to start off by thanking the afl-cio and in particular our colleagues at pride at work, peggy shirley and her colleagues are here. [applause] they, they and other out lgbt people in the labor movement remind us every day that our struggles are not separate, they are one, and i thank them very much for their work and other colleagues in the labor movement including mary kate henry, president of sciu as well. this, i was thinking about the idea of intolerance and violence and with the civil rights movement and the themes of peace and violence and nonviolence and the choices that we all make as activists today and those around the country who share in all of our collective struggles. and i want to talk about it in this way, um, and that is that i
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think what we're seeing is a playing out of intolerance and violence that we have seen many times before, and we all have choices to make about how we will stand up to that or speak to it. and really i would talk about it, um, first in the sense of physical violence. um, and as you mentioned with the hate crimes and particularly against latinos in this country on the rise which, i think, is not a coincidence given the demographics and the reaction against growing latino population, what we see with violence and intolerance is when any group of people or groups of people take a step forward, there are people who are threatened by that. and i was pleased that you mentioned that in your opening remarks. but the physical violence, um, still is absolutely experienced by lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender people. and i would say it's more acutely experienced in a way
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overall by transgender people and people who are what we would say gender-variant, people who don't fit how they are supposed to move through society. those are the people who most often experience physical intense violence. we've seen that in baltimore this past year with a transgender woman who was not only attacked, but videotaped while that attack was going on. and fortunately, there were people who stood up for her, but sometimes there are not. we've also seen a very intense and long wave of physical violence in puerto rico against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. so the physical violence, that overt violence, i think, continues to play out for lgbt people, particularly transgender people and particularly lgbt people of color. we also then see kind of the more insidious violence, the less overt, the less in your
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face type of violence which is the verbal violence or the rhetorical violence that we hear in society and, unfortunately, from some of our elected officials. and it's both, um, it's both stated violence, but the unstated verbal violence as well. some of you may be familiar with adrian rich, lesbian poet and kind of the lies of omission. the things that are not spoken about in the lives of lgbt people are types of harmful speech, if you will. so even though there are these overt physical attacks, what we're also seeing but don't hear as much about is the toll that hate speech takes on people. whether people say, well, i don't mind gay people, but i just don't want them to flaunt it. or why can't they just not act that way. or i really like you guys, but i don't think you should get married. these are, these are forms of intolerance in this country that
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play out every single day for lgbt people. and when i'm saying lgbt people, and i think the beauty of being in this type of forum, is there are lgbt firefighters, service workers, lgbt people who are -- many, many lgbt people are unemployed, so i'm not separating out a community, but, in fact, speaking to the wholeness of us and the the experiences of violence. then there's the, i guess, the third piece of intolerance i would talk about is the systemic intolerance or the systemic violence. again, we have seen this play out again and again in different movements across the country. you've just described, laid out a full plan of systemic intolerance, um, that played out and continues to play out. and these types of intolerances, systemic intolerance are connected. the attacks on labor, voter suppression in communities of
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color, the tax codes as they are and anti-lgbt policies that deny, for example, families from getting social security when one partner dies, thus subjecting the living partner to poverty if they were able to build up social security over their lifetime. and certainly immigration policy which i know my colleague will speak about in a minute. these are interconnected forms of intolerance, so in some ways, yes, there is more tolerance for some types of lgbt people in some situations. we see them, you know, people say, oh, but they're on tv, so life must be better. well, it's not better for homeless lesbians and their kids. it's not better for people who don't have jobs. it's not better for transgender person who has to turn to sex work just because he or she can't make a living because of the situation she's in. and we have seen particularly for transgender people that
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employment, and we are in this labor context i wanted to highlight a couple of things. we've done a research, largest-ever research study on people who are transgender or otherwise gender-variant with our colleagues, and we found that transgender people suffer unemployment at twice the rate of the general population and african-american transgender people are unemployed at four times the rate of the general population. so there's an acuteness. and it's not to compare who's more unemployed, less unemployed, but there's an acute experience that's happening in this country for people that puts them at a severe disadvantage in every area of their lives; health, family, employment. i will just touch briefly on a couple of successes, you asked just for a little bit of success. [laughter] and it, you know, in one area, certainly, the hate crimes act reminding people that that act honored both james byrd and matthew shepard, right?
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the connectedness of our lives. two people who in their lives probably never would have met and, unfortunately, because of both of their deaths are now honored together. but that was a big success. and a success, although it got played out i think in the media as a big lgbt success, the first prosecution under that law was in response to an attack on a disabled man. and the first conviction under that law was a race-based crime. so sometimes i think we play out in the media, oh, it benefits lgbt people. we need to look at the interconnectedness of our lives and our struggle, and i hope we'll talk some about that in the q&a. two last things. one, we have, i think, with the lgbt community in fighting against intolerance been incredibly fortunate to partner with labor. we are, our struggles go back together for a long time, and we at our organization, the task force, we barter in with --
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partner with labor on the local, state and national levels, and when we do, we are more successful whether it's fighting a ballot measure, passing legislation, compelling a public spokesperson to say something that they've never said before. so i very much appreciate that. and i wanted to just bring out one thing to choice my remarks -- close my remarks. that while we have together such a long way to go and to fight together and to stand up, lgbt people absolutely stand with you in wisconsin and did, and we'll continue to. um, there are some successes. and it struck me, i wanted to bring this poster to kind of highlight this time. and this poster was produced by the u.s. department of labor. and each summer in recent years anyway they have produced a poster for pride that goes up in elevators and in the hallways, and sometimes they're torn down, and they put them back up again. and so i thought it was appropriate to bring this. this is this year's lgbt pride
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poster featuring baird us rusto. and the quote is to be afraid is to behave as if truth were not true. to in close -- so in closing, i just want to say let us all not be afraid together. [applause] >> thank you very much. now we're talking about intolerance. i think this is a good transition into the next issue which is one that i know very well because my whole career i have been covering, um, the efforts and the struggle of the latino community to be recognized, to have the political power that they deserve. just to give you an idea, when i started working in television, there were 14 million hispanics. that was back in the 1981. i swear i was 5 years old when they started working. it's a double-edged sword to celebrate your 30th anniversary
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with the same company. [laughter] there were 14 million hispanics, now there are over 50 million. we are now the largest minority. i would say there is no more divisive issue in this country than immigration. that's why politicians want to stay away from it. nobody wants to take the chance of turning it into a political issue because it will definitely divide the country more so than it is now. um, we have isabel castillo here, and there is one issue related to immigration that is a sidebar, if you can call it that way, of a comprehensive immigration reform, and that is the dream act. the dream act is legislation, as many of you know, that has been presented several times in congress, has never been approved, and it is a very basic and human thing. it's to allow those young people who are here undocumented who
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were brought here as children, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years old by their parents against their will, they did not choose to come here. they grew up in this country, they have studied in this country, for most of them, this is the only country that they know. some of them don't even speak spanish and have never been to the country where they were born. so, basically, this legislation would allow them to access legal residency and, more importantly, to be able to access, um, higher education. isabel is going to talk to us the about that. as i mentioned before, she is an activist with the dream act. and i wanted to describe, first, what it's like to live in this country. because, you know, there's two sides to this. there are some people who say, well, you know, that's just too bad, it's their parents' fault, and they have to pay for what their parents did because their parents broke the law, and they should not be here, and giving
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them a path to legal citizenship would be pricing, giving a price to someone who broke the law. so there are two sides to the story. but very few people understand what it's like to leave -- to live as a dreamer in this country. describe it for us, please. >> well, good morning, everyone. my name is isabel castillo. thank you, first of all, to afl-cio for this great opportunity, and it's such an honor to be here amongst great leaders. um, i'm originally from mexico, but i was brought here at the age of 6, so, like, i did not choose to be brought here. i just came along with mommy and daddy. and i've been here since i was 6 years old, started the first grade in the public school system. um, you know, went all the way through 12th grade, and that is when i realized that i was different than my peers. i am undocumented, and everyone was talking about going to college and where you're going and where you got accepted to, and i knew that i wanted to go
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to college. my parents worked in a poultry plant for many years, and they always instilled in my siblings and i to value education and to become someone in life. they said you don't want to work in the poultry plants with blood and guts. no, it's not good. you're waking up at 4 in the morning, so do well in school. i had a 4.0gpa, and i went to speak to my guidance counselor and said, i want to go to college. he had an undocumented student right in front of him, and he just didn't know how to help me. and it was a very hard, you know, time for me because i was ready to go to college, you know? i qualified for so many scholarships, but because i lack this nine-digit number, this social security number, i couldn't apply for grants, loans, scholarships, i couldn't even apply to go to college. after high school i, you know, i worked as a waitress from seven days a week from 9 in the morning until 10 p.m., and it
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was hard. and then eventually i found out that a local university accepted undocumented students. so i was very happy and grateful that, you know, god heard my prayers. i enrolled, i went to eastern mennonite university, graduated in this three and a half years with a bachelor's in social work, magna cum laude honors, and now i'm here stuck with a degree that i cannot use. you probably think that i look 16, but i'm 26 years old. [laughter] and it's very hard. it's been almost four years that i graduated from the university, and i can't use my degree. and this is home to me. i feel like i'm american in every sense of the word, but just not on paper. and it's very unfortunate because it was not our fault. and i don't blame my parents because i think -- how many of you have children? would you do anything for your children? and that's what my parents did, and that's what thousands of parents did. they come here for better opportunities, right? to seek the american dream.
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and i will never blame my parents, and be i am thankful that they brought me here. and this is a struggle -- this is not unique, you know? is there's thousands of undocumented youth across the country who are faced with this reality, people who are pursuing master's degrees, ph -- ph.d. degrees because of our broken system. that's why we are working hard to pads the dream act -- pass the dream act. fortunately, it passed the house last year, but, unfortunately, it failed in the senate by five votes. and the dream act has been in congress for ten years now. and like dr. king said, you know, we cannot wait any longer. this is our home. we're american, and we just want to contribute and give back to our communities and, you know, if dream act were to pass, it would raise revenues by more than $2.3 billion and cut the deficit by more than $1.4 billion.
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we need the dream act, we need some type of comprehensive immigration reform for, you know, our parents, our brothers and sisters. so it's difficult because you grow up here, and this is your home, and to be rejected by the only country that you know and to live in fear each day that you're going to be deported to a country that you probably don't even remember. and a lot of dreamers don't even speak their native language. so it's hard. and to see, you know, families being broken apart and being taken away from your mom or your dad, um, you know, receiving calls from my sister and saying, you know, she's going to the grocery store to get milk for her baby, and she's terrified that a police officer is right behind her. so it's always living in fear. but we have stood up and said we're undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic, and we're going to stand up, and we are going to fight. [applause]
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we're going to fight for what is right. and i know it's a hard journey, we know that the dream act is not going to pass this year or next year, but we're going to continue to mobilize our communities and strengthen our base, and when we do have that opportunity, um, hopefully, you know, we want everyone to work with our immigrant communities and, you know, it's a struggle that we're all in it together. >> gracias, isabel. [applause] young his pans, young -- hispanics, young immigrants who happen to be here illegally or even those who are here legally have to struggle being at the bottom of the scale when it comes to unemployment. as we know, latinos have the high high school dropout rate in the country. but, you know, all young people right now are suffering. kurston cook is going to talk about that because it really
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should worry all of us because we're talking about a sector of our community who is going to forge the future of our country. when it comes to minorities, this will be, um, this country will be majority minority/majority in a few years. and if we don't have this sector of our country educated and prepared for the future, then it's not only the future of the community, but the future of the country that will be in their hands. so you can imagine what a bleak future we see if we do not help these young people to educate themselves, to get the best jobs possible. these are the leaders of the future, the doctors of the future, the politicians of our future. talk to us a little bit, kurston, about some of the conflicts that young people face today. and in every way. >> thank you. and thank you, again, for the afl for having me. thank you, liz, for letting me
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off work a little bit today to be here with everybody. [laughter] young people face an enormous amount of hurdles in this economy in this country today, probably more so than ever in american history. we're the largest generation, we're also the educated, we'res also the most indebted generation in american history. and just recently college debt has exceeded credit card debt. so not only do we have to fight for the opportunity to go to college in a broken educational system, um, but once we get there we are financially burdened by the educational process that leaves us in economic indentured servitude and in an economy with no jobs. right now youth unemployment is at 18%. youth unemployment within hispanic communities is 21%, and within the black community it is 31%. teen youth unemployment, which isn't spoken of a lot which is the huge issue, has been over 25% for the last three years. so the opportunity for young people in this country to gain
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employment experience before they go to college, before they enter the full work force is just not there. and in this economy you have to have an education, and you have to have work experience, and we're not providing them the opportunity to gain work experience, and we're economically segregating them from the opportunity to gain a higher education. not to mention the fact that young people don't have a lobby. we don't have a lot of people fighting for us. and a lot of times we have to fight and pick up our own issues and push them forward. the dreamers are a great example of that. to be undocumented and unafraid is just as powerful as i am a man. and to have this kind of political courage in in this climate is something to be cherished and something that really speaks to the american spirit and something that we should embrace. um, young people at the same time are going to be representing a huge amount of the electorate. by 2016 it will equal one-third
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of the voting population, and a lot of the voting laws that we face will disproportionately effect young people of color, so the opportunity to participate in our government will not be there. for example, in wisconsin the new voter id bill which allows the university of wisconsin student to use their student id to vote requires three main things; a photo id, an expiration date and a signature. now, the current student id at wisconsin only has one of the three priorities. people are specifically designing legislation to disenfranchise young people, low income individuals and people of color. because they know that this is the future of this country. l and that the future of this country is inherently more progressive, we don't have the same kind of universal divisions on these cultural war topics whether it's gay marriage or interracial dating or
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immigration reform. and so people are looking to take us and take our voice out of the political process and take us out of the economic process. and so the american dream that so many people have realized is going to become our american fantasy. because we're not going to have the jobs that we need to provide for our families. let alone start a family. and most young people are holding off buying a home, starting a business and getting married because they can't keep up. and the system is specifically designed to disenfranchise us as we become the majority of this country, and i think that those objection obstacles are -- obstacles are overwhelming. >> why do you think -- you mentioned this was designed to disenfranchise. why? and who? >> i think the system is designed so that the very wealthy continue to be very wealthy, and those at the bottom continue to be at the bottom.
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and i think organizations like alec where people are looking to create legislation like s.b. 1070 to disenfranchise a growing population, i think that voting laws, voter id bills are looking to take away people's rights specifically because this country is shifting, and it's shifting in a very unique and profound way. and so dr. king spoke of a dream that we have yet to realize, but here's a generation that we have a unique opportunity to cement and make it a reality. and not just a dream, but something that we live every day and something that we can build on for the future. and i think, and i know that the opposition to a lot of these bills are very conscious of that. and you look at the laws that are out there, the attack on labor unions is an attack on the working class and the middle class. the attack on public sector workers is an attack on black communities and brown communities. the attack on pell grants is about keeping, you know, a next generation of individuals uneducated and without economic
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means, um, to influence change, to forever be second-class citizens in the american economy. and so we at the afl are deeply conscious of this. we're working with a lot of youth organizations, we're getting ready to -- not getting ready to launch, we have launched our young worker program to really stand up and be a voice for young people, and we really want to push the agenda forward so that, you know, education is a right. health care is a right. and when we talk about austerity, that's an attack on the american dream, it's an attack on the working poor. budget cuts are an attack on the working poor, and when we talk about, you know, when elected officials say we want to make sure these programs are here for our children, we're not in the room when they're making these decisions, and we need to be there, our voice needs to be heard. so if we want to talk about a progressive tax system, that's something that we can have, if we want to talk about an educational system that works for everybody, that's something
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we can have and that we protect and continue to advance the rights of working people in this country, um, to insure that this promise of this nation is for everybody and not for a select few. .. to get something done, and even though he is not here we know what we should be doing. we have a window of opportunity right now nationally in politics between now and november 2012. it is a window of opportunity and it is going to close and i'm
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going to tell you why. you have a window of opportunity in your states depending on what you are political calendar is. i don't know what the calendar is of any state that but nationally we have 2012. but you ask why people wants to disenfranchise young voters. we saw in 2000, i held hearings in the 2000 election. at disenfranchisement of latinos and african-americans and elderly people in florida. why was that done? we know why it was done. we don't have to ask ourselves, why are these people doing all these things? they are doing it is they want to get power and they want certain people to win and certain people to lose. there are some other things we should understand. capitalism requires inequality. did you hear what i said? you learn that in e. con one. the only question is, is who is going to be unequal?
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and what you do about your situation determines who is going to be unequal. as long as you have capitalism he will have inequality, okay? now the other part of it is that the window, right now is the time to put pressure on political leaders to get something done. i heard some people say -- i was criticizing the administration a few months ago before everybody else started criticizing them for not doing what they should do. while i wish obama well, i said the usual thing. i wish him well and he is loved by everybody but we need to have some change here. and some fighting. now, people who have done something since, labor, the cbc and other people all around the country, people who are protesting and doing things, some of them think that they should be quiet because they want the president to be
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reelected and if they say anything they might undermine his prospects if they start making demands that this, that are the other be done. the time to make demands is now, not after the election. when it is over, it is over. when the president is reelected he will be a lame-duck. i heard someone say the other day when he is a lame-duck he will be able to do more for us. i've been in washington and i have been in every administration one way or the other since nixon, both parties. why have never seen a situation where lame ducks can get more done. now that is just nonsense, okay? so you have got a window right now and so people who are trying to cut deals, people who are trying to use leverage, people who are trying to protest, people who are trying to do all those things need to be doing it now. until then, that is when you have got people's attention. after that they may tell you, listen if you will just wait until i can get over this, and
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i'm not just talking about the president, some members of congress and all types of political leaders. and they mean well, and so let's figure out what to do to keep the pressure on. what is it that you do? protest. you have learned that. protest is an essential ingredient of politics. i wrote that in in a book some years ago when they had a congressional hearing and found out that i was a radical. iamb. [laughter] it is an essential ingredient of politics, okay? also it is explanation to those who don't understand. justice, and freedom go together. what does that mean? and love. to love you even though you are my enemy. .com i am going to protest until you do. if you are my friend, and i wrote a chapter in the book on the history of the civil rights commission called among friends. it was about how the commission thawed when jfk became president
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said he was a liberal and he was a democrat that everything would be fine and they got their let's get or some political reasons not because he was against them on the issue. they didn't put enough pressure on. that is what you do. you make people do stuff. there are a lot of demands and the squeaky wheel does get the oil so we have a window of opportunity, folks. right now, to do all this stuff that we need to have done, and i would hope that we would think about how we do that. thank you. >> thank you dr. berry. you are absolutely right, we see it whether it is a labor movement, whether it is any professional organization, getting together and having a conference to talk about the problems we face year after year after year after year and then we rarely talk about the solutions. i'm glad that you brought this
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up. with that i'm going to go to each one of the panel members and say what can you do to do something about it? we all know the problems we we e facing, but what is your plan of action or what do you think can be done? >> well our plan of action and my personal plan of action is to reclaim our moral outrage and our rights. if you look at the civil rights movement, there was one critique of the civil rights movement. it was people whose came somewhat stagnant with the many victories, the voting acts right of 1964 and 65, brown v. board of education and topeka kansas. they stopped organizing this event at the counters and letting their voices be heard. you heard reverend jackson said this morning. i think it is time for us to get up and stand up and do something instead of sitting back and talking about it like when barack obama got elected. work so hard and said now he is
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in office, don't have to pay my taxes any more. things are going to be great. you have got to get up. you can't sit back and let the government do for you. we have got to speak out and we have to make our forces heard. like the doctor said not just now and not after elections but right now. the time is now and that is what i'm going to continue doing and that is what our firefighters are going to continue to do. it is not just a union fight at all. >> a few things. one, we have really been encouraging groups around the country who are locally and state taste groups working on behalf of the lgbt community to look around, joined a local coalition on tax policy, join the local coalition fighting for immigration rights so that what we want to make sure people are doing are making the connections between the issues it has i think for a variety of reasons over the last number of years, some of us who consider ourselves progressives have become separated drum each other
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and it is time to come back to the other end and highlight these issues in and the injustices that occur. i will tell you a story about last winter on the same day that the d.r.e.a.m. act did not pass, "don't ask don't tell" was overturned. and for many of us in the lgbt community it was a bittersweet day. go weak too had fought for the overturn of "don't ask don't tell" and from our organizations view from a racial and economic lens that was not only for those who want to serve their country for their patriotism but it does for many, it is the only way to get education or skills in this country is to join the military service, even when they would rather not. even when they would rather not. so that was an economic and racial justice piece of legislation. and we were very upset that the d.r.e.a.m. act did not pass. we put out -- our organization
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and others put up press releases on both. that had to happen because these issues are absolutely connected, so i think the more that we do that and there are ways that we do that on the local, state and national level, and the second is when we do have opportunities and unfortunately the opportunities are few in congress right now but we have been working with a coalition of organizations to look at every federal agency and clear discrimination exists against lgbt people particularly those affecting poor at those ebt people and people of -- and looking at how we can change those policies and regulations. these are policies that have to do with housing. a number of years ago a couple and their kids would show up to apply for section 8 housing and get turned away. they cannot be turned away now because the policies we have gotten change. yes that affects lgbt people but affects a broader range of people as well. the more we talk about these connections and the way we
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actually experience our lives, i think that is the way we will mobilize people and to your point that time is not a year from now. we have to continue now. >> thank you very much and that brings me to this transition where i would like to make a -- i'm the daughter of an immigrant and i think if they were to amend the 14th amendment, you know they would lose out on having someone that i think, my sisters and i have contributed in some way to society. anyway i'm not supposed to be the one giving the answers here, however this is as you know a topic that i am very passionate about. so let me move to -- what can we do? as a community, the latino community to make sure that congress not only approves
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comprehension immigration reform by not approving comprehensive immigration reform we are seeing serious consequences. states are taking it into their own hands in precisely in the states where martin luther king fought for over a decade in alabama, we have now h.b. 56 which is the strongest anti-immigrant law in the country is supposed to go into effect september 1. it goes as far as not allowing children if their parents are undocumented. this is a very drastic measure. what can we do as a community? >> i think dr. berry said now is the time to make noise. we need to be that squeaky wheel. you know especially the undocumented youth. we need to come out and like we are doing, declaring ourselves not afraid and really hitting the streets, protesting and as dr. king said, direct action.
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i think especially the national youth alliance, we believe in direct action. yeah we make the calls in the letters and what not but when we were in senator reid's office leicester we decided to conduct -- and we got him to take the d.r.e.a.m. act to the senate calendar so we need to continue to mobilize, to stand up but not the afraid any more. you know, i think because the secure community program. a lot of our communities came out in opposition of that and started making noise, and that is when you know they tried to calm us down by passing this memo that the dhs recently passed that they are going to review some cases that are in deportation proceedings but we need to continue that momentum and we need to continue to be seen and heard. so mobilizing our communities and yes, i cannot vote but i have many friends that can vote
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in we can mobilize our communities and they can vote. >> thank you. kurston what can young people do and what should young people do? i know that there is a lot of focus on the importance of the young vote in elections. however, when young people feel disenfranchised, they are not motivated and they tend to become very apathetic when it comes to elections. when people decide to stay away from polls, whether it is hispanics come young people are african-americans because they feel disenfranchised because they are disappointed, because they are confused, boycotting an election is not finishing anyone but ourselves. if we don't vote, we are not taken into consideration so what can young people do from here to november 2012? >> i think it is important -- there is a common misconception that young people are apathetic. i think young people are dan
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castiglione delist again i think that is absolutely what this country needs. i think we need hope, not the hope that was drill this into -- drilled into us in 2008 but understand elections are winning on when day. governance is about winning everyday we need to be in the business of winning every day and we can play defense anymore. we need to start expanding the rights of workers, voters, of young people, the immigrants, the whole nine yards. we need to expand what we do for more people. more importantly young people need to get up and understand that they are uniquely powerful. we have seen young people across the middle east topple governments and dictators that have been in power for decades. you don't have wisconsin without the young people who decided we are going to sit in this capitol and start this movement because we are not going to do it anymore. you are not going to have young people push the d.r.e.a.m. act unless they go out on an edge and say i'm undocumented and i'm
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unafraid. i think and people will be engaged. in fact a lot of young people i have the opportunity to bring to this committee today are deeply committed with engaging young people and make sure they get out of the polls. there's a lot of information and work going on about how do we address these voting attacks and specifically here at the afl we are pushing the national campaign for america wants to work. we are under the philosophy of we are not just going to be building up a structure for elections but consistent consistent mobilization advocacy and organizing so there is plenty of opportunity for young people to get involved. all you have to do is look. we encourage that kind of engagement and i think people if they were smart would empower young people, listen to young people and give them a little bit of an opportunity to run with something. i guarantee you not only do we want to work, we can be enormous advocates for the kind of change that this country so deeply needs. >> definitely. i don't want to go on to the next thing without asking something i've been wanting to ask you all afternoon. if you could please make a
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parallel port if you think there is a parallel between the struggle of the hispanic community for immigration reform in the civil rights movement of the 60s? >> i think that there are analogies, just as i think there are analogies between the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, and most movements of social reform. the only real difference is that people are oppressed, but they are oppressed in different ways. i mean, not everybody has -- everybody's oppression is exactly the same. latinos are oppressed by colonialism, which was -- i won't give the whole history of the conquest and all the rest of it, but you could argue that if arizona and new mexico and all those places still belonged where they were and should have been, we wouldn't be having all of these problems. it would be a different problem,
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okay? so the oppression flows for different reasons, language, the history of colonialism and the like but it is still oppression. and the way you deal with oppression is the history of it from everything that we know from the beginning of time through gandhi and king and all the rest of them is what i said earlier. you explain to people, you love them, you protest against them. we did it here. we did the free south africa movement outside of the embassy and it was a successful effort because we got sanctions and nelson out of jail in south south africa is south africa and the rest is history. but in any case, it requires some imagination and creativity about strategy and different things to keep public attention focused on your issue. but, it is analogous. it is inequality, it is an
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unjust principle being applied to people, which they have to fight, and they have to understand the history of their oppression. but what people should not do, and this happens sometimes, and i relate to a lot of these movements and then the lgbt movement and the women's movement and so on. we have had long arguments in the past about whether everybody's oppression was exactly the same. and it is not. and everybody isn't exactly the same but the fundamental thing is we are all oppressed. at protests, politics, went to get the vote, use it and figure out what to do with it. and not why cutting and saying you are not going to vote but being selective of how you use it and what you say about what you do. on occasions you have to fill the jails and you have to do that. you have to be willing to stop whatever is going on. you have to put some sand into the gears so that people can't
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just go on with business as usual. that takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of a lot of people -- but that is the history of social movements, it's the history of the labor movement and the history of how you get things done. it is unfortunate. sometimes didn't say to me, why is it so hard? why do we have to do all that? that is the history of how you get it done. >> the there are people across the nation that are unable to be here today but they are watching my webcast. we are able to submit a couple of questions for the panel is. we have one for mahlon mitchell from john talbott and the question is, with the ease of nonunion all co-workers and volunteers given the preparations the ability to sites that benefit and working wages, do we have a chance of keeping collective bargaining rights in the new economy? >> i think we do. i think we have to, in order to keep collective bargaining and,
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in order to keep our current rights we have to make sure we hold our politicians accountable whether democrat or republican. right now a lot of bad politicians are in office by good people who don't know them so we have to be part of the process. we can keep collective bargaining and keep our workers rights as long as we fight for them. we have to realize that people died for us to have the right, so it's our job to make sure that we protect that right and be part of the process. when we get somebody elected, hold them accountable whether democrat or republican. if they don't do their job, get somebody else in there. >> the other question is for kurston. the other question is for john lennon. why do we need employment agencies and temp agencies to get long-term employment. companies that use them are trying to get out of paying health care. >> what is the question again? [laughter] >> why do we need employment agencies and temp agencies to get long-term employment? companies that use them are
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trying to get out of paying for health care. i guess what the questioners trying to say is companies who pay temp agencies -- in the first place. >> i think what the professor was saying was in capitalism there is inequity and when you work in an economy towards equilibrium there is no value in providing greater services for workers because the bottom line is about making profit. so, we have to change the focus from profit driven organizations to ones that value people while still maintaining a business model to be successful. i guarantee you no one has a problem with anyone being a billionaire. like steve jobs did the iphone and ipod. i have both and i think they are phenomenal. he is a billionaire, congratulations. he should be taxed for it. [applause] and so, when people say we need
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to change this or it won't exist, collective bargaining must be taken away and medicare and social security must be taken away, things can only be taken away from us when they allow -- we allow them to be taken away. i would say that system is broken and if we choose not to be a part of it, you can choose to create social entrepreneurship and you need to get on the street to make those those kinds of changes. i think a system of unpaid internships is inherently unfair and i think it is a system that young people can put on a major forefront if they say we are just not going going to do this any more. imagine in d.c. if every intern stopped and walked out and stop doing what they were asked to do. one, no one would know where the copy toner is. [laughter] and two, the city runs on unpaid labor so let's be honest about that. the excuse of experience is not one that we should be tolerated.
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>> a couple of days ago come the day before yesterday read on line, remember the headline. french millionaire or french rich are asking to be taxed so that there are more social services. i was about to put on twitter, we should learn from the french. i thought that is not going to be very popular. [laughter] we have a lot to learn from a french. we could open it up for questions now. it is time to do that. i don't know any of you have any questions for this distinguished panel to take advantage of the fact that they are here. we do have a question here. >> i just wanted to redress the popular notion -- [inaudible]
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[inaudible] it is important that we are open about this and understand this issue. it is a civil rights issue of our time. it is not just about used. is about every single person. [inaudible] we all need to stand up for one another. this cycle will continue and we have seen it time and time again. nobody stands up and nobody says anything.
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is oppression that has created this fear. [inaudible] [applause] >> thank you. thank you are your comments and i think it is what we are talking about. as long as politicians feel there are no political consequences to their actions they are going to continue doing that. if they realize, if they don't support a specific issue that there is going to be political consequences and they will get voted out of office or they won't get voted into office. that is when they will adhere. anyone else have a question for our panelists or a comment?
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[inaudible] >> anybody want to address that? >> i love rallies. [laughter] i think it is a great idea. i think it is time. i think we really will send a message and i mean we have to be out on the streets to make our voices known. but there has got to be action to go along with a rally and rally in marches are great but there is no specific action after the rally, then really you are losing translation what you want to be done. i think rallies are great but there has to be action. like when they women rallied in wisconsin we rallied and rallied in the next thing, recalls. it builds momentum for the recalls and we rallied again. if we have a specific action that comes along with that rally then i think it is a great idea.
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>> if he speaks, i will be there. [laughter] the other thing, and there have been in every movement, the women's movement, the lgbt movement a lot of marches and rallies in one of the things we really talked about in the last number of years is actually something we did a long time ago which was equality begins at home where particularly in this economic climate and i think absolutely marches are crafted well and have a clear message and actions have people really feel connected to what it is about, they can be incredibly powerful. there are also so many people who cannot afford to come to washington and if we can find ways to engage people at home in their communities to stand up and speak out about their lives and local officials and elected officials with a focus on that is much. >> congressman john lewis who was here earlier who said that at some point his parents told him, keep quiet, don't make any
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noise. he said no, i am going to make noise and i'm going to get in trouble. it is great to do that but with a method -- message like martin luther king had. however with a very clear message. >> i would say in the 80's we were told and scholars wrote about this, including some of my colleagues, that people should march. the marching was passé and it was old hat. people shouldn't do it. every form i went to there would be discussions about how it shouldn't be done because it was passé, whatever, whatever and then their rights marched march down the left stopped marching and then the right began marching. they had marches and rallies in everything else and people said well, why are they doing that if it is not effective? and so, then there were marches around some of the issues and i remember a supreme court case in the '90s after a series of marches here in washington


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